“Speaking the truth in love.” Eph 4:15 NKJV
Sometimes love requires confronting people. But it must be done in the right way, and only over the right issues. If you spend your life correcting people you’ll finish up with no credibility, and no friends. At what point should you confront somebody? Only when you’ve answered these questions: (a) Is it important? If it involves a destructive habit, an abusive behavior, a major doctrinal error, or a situation that could hurt them, it’s important—get involved. (b) Is it chronic? If you observe the same thing happening over and over, it doesn’t have to be big to get your love in gear. (c) Have you earned the right to speak? If a casual acquaintance does something unwise it’s probably none of your business. But if someone close to you does it, it’s both appropriate and loving to say, “That will hurt you.” Paul points out four things about love in 1Co 13:4-5 (NIV): (1) “Love is not rude.” It doesn’t use the “open-wide-while-I-jam-this-down-your-throat” approach. (2) “Love is not self-seeking.” It forgets about the need to be accepted, and makes sure that what the other person hears is filtered only by kindness. It refuses to walk away having spoken half the truth. (3) “Love is not easily angered.” When you confront someone in love, don’t be upset if you get an angry response like, “Who are you to tell me?” The right medicine doesn’t taste good, but it heals. (4) “Love keeps no record of wrongs.” When you have been hurt, it’s critical that you deal with it and get it behind you. Only then can you confront someone for their own good.
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