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How to Win a Fight- Compassionate Confrontation

January 8, 2010

For some, speaking truth is not a problem.  Certain ones, and others in certain situations, feel a great freedom to speak truth to others.  The impetus of Paul’s injunction to “speak every man truth with his neighbor” is far greater than honesty for honesty’s sake.  With that instruction, Paul is not commanding believers to get everything off their chest so they will feel better.  Nor are we left wondering why we should speak truth, Paul gives us this command with a very definite and defined reason behind it.  In Ephesians 4:15 we are told the aim of the church is for each of us to be growing up into maturity, no longer children deceived by creative liars,  “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” In that verse we are given the motivating factors of speaking the truth.  The two driving forces of truth must be compassion and Christ-likeness.  Speaking the truth to get something off your chest is not speaking the truth in love.  Speaking the truth to put someone in their place is not doing so in love.  Truth speaking has to be driven by a genuine desire for the best of the other person.  You may say something that you feel a strong desire to say, but if it is not done for the best of your hearer, it is wrong.  When speaking truth, you may say something that the other needs to hear, but if it you are not doing it for their gain, it is not loving.  As in all other things, the end does not justify a wrong mode or wrong motivation for our speaking.  Good results don’t justify selfish or wicked words.  Compassion, the real desire for the benefit of the hearer has to be one of the major factors in our truth speaking.  Compassion is our motivation, Christ-likeness is our mark.  The goal we must have when speaking truth to someone is that the result of our honest words will push them towards a greater imitation of Christ.  Our speech needs to be driven by the desire to help the hearer be better imitators of Jesus.  Our thoughts need to be communicated to others in such a way that the one who hears us is instructed, either explicitly or by example, in what is pleasing to God.  In every conversation, our speech should be pleasing to God.  It should always be that which Christ would say.  In times of confrontation, our speech needs to be provoking (in the Hebrews 10 sense of the term) the listener to better obedience to God.  It should challenge others to forsake disobedience and pursue righteousness.  Our speech needs to serve the believer and the body of Christ with loving honesty towards all men.

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