Speaking the Truth—in Love

I've had two incidents this week when I've realized that I've hurt people. One was a recent conversation and the other was something I'd done long ago. And this same week I also witnessed a third incident where a person had been hurt by an omission. I was more of an outsider on that one, but I was part of it nonetheless.

What is going on this week? What is God trying to teach me?

At first I reeled from seeing my faults. I felt justified in my initial actions. I said what was true. What was necessary. I couldn't help that someone else felt bad in the long run. So why should I feel bad?

Then I realized I am just like those hurt people. At least twice a month (maybe twice a week?) I feel miffed and sad and hurt by something I see as a slight. Only later do I understand that I might have been extra sensitive and that the intent of others wasn't as mean as I'd conjured in my mind.

So I put myself in these three individual's situations. How would I have felt if I was on the receiving end of my words, my actions, my oversight?

It's easy for me to see when others are harsh with the truth. Just because a person is right or has an opinion doesn't mean these views have to be thrown in a person's face or dumped ungraciously in someone's lap. I claim to be a victim of this behavior all the time.

But what about when I'm the bully? When I feel attacked, I can zing back with the best of them. When I'm frustrated and feel like I'm not being heard, I loudly lament and hope someone feels sorry for me.

This is not the kind of person I want to present to the world. This is not the kind of role model I want to be for my daughter. There is a way to speak (and act on) the truth in love. I just have to take the time to find that way.

And so I had to apologize. Three times.

It's never easy. I hope that next week less reparation is necessary. :) I know I'll still stick my foot in my mouth. But maybe it will start to happen less.