We have seen in the last installment the principles of speaking the truth in love. Therefore, to practice speaking the truth in love, we are to apply these principles in such a way which would result in our fulfiling the purposes of such speaking the truth in love.
Therefore, in our daily living, in order to speak the truth in love, we are to ask ourselves the following questions:
In our conversations, are we
1) Speaking the truth?
2) Doing it with a good and loving motivation, which is derived from biblical principles?
3) Doing it with an intent not to cause unnecessary friction?
4) Doing it in a manner which would portray your love and concern for the other person, and not to cause unnecessary friction?
5) With a mind to build up the other person in Christ, both in Word (doctrine) and in life?
6) With a mind to make the other person firm in the faith?
7) With a mind to equip the other person for God's service?
If we can answer in the affirmative for the above questions, then our speeches, encouragements and even admonitions would thus be speaking the truth in love.
I would just like to emphasize questions 1 and 6 again, as in this effeminate climate in which we now live in, these two points are very much neglected. If we neglect these two points, what we have is definitely not speaking the truth in love, no matter how sweet it sounds to perhaps another person. Also, conflict by itself does not necessarily mean that one has not practise speaking the truth in love, as our Lord Jesus Christ who is perfectly loving and righteous instigated quite a lot ot controversy and conflict Himself. In fact, judging by His example, speaking the truth in love would, ironically, create more conflict and strife, as Man is rebellious against God and is resentful when anyone exposes his sins, no matter how loving the other person is.
I would like to close this series by reminding us how do we go about practicing speaking the truth in love. By ourselves, such an activity is difficult, and even more so when it comes down to rebuking or admonishing another person in love. The only way we can go about practicing speaking the truth in love is firstly to know the truth (not only intellectually knowing but a knowing which assimilates the knowledge into one's worldview) as written in the Scriptures, and secondly to know God, who is Love, through spending time with Him and living the Spirit-filled life. Until we do both, this practice would remain ever elusive to us.