26 May Reflecting Truth
I’m seventeen years old, sitting in the passenger seat of a car next to my small group leader. We’re driving back from a youth retreat and I’m the only student in her car, which looking back, I think was purposeful. She’s got me cornered.
We start talking about faith and relationships, and suddenly she’s digging in, personal and hard. Not mean necessarily, but she’s definitely calling me out on my actions. And I don’t like it.
Eight years later I can still recall that conversation vividly. But the reason it’s stuck so deep isn’t because I’m still scarred by it or that it makes me angry when I think about it—no it’s stuck so deep because it was incredibly influential. My small group leader loving me enough to tell me the truth helped me see myself more clearly—like holding a mirror up to my soul so I could actually see what was inside—and it wasn’t good. But I’m much better now because of it.
“When I don’t speak truth, hard truth, I’m not actually loving.”
So I pride myself in being a positive person. I do my best to look for silver linings and glasses half full—not in an unrealistic, overly optimistic way, but in a way that values the good in everything.
But because of this tendency, I don’t always value speaking hard truth. It’s like I’m wearing a pair of tinted glasses, filtering my relationships, circumstances, and experiences through a lens of optimism and good intentions.
So when we talked about our words at the A Woman and Her Words conference this past April, I wasn’t necessarily convicted by the things I had been saying. I was much more convicted by the things I hadn’t been saying. Tim Keller has a great quote regarding this. He says:
“Love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us but keeps us in denial about our flaws. Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really heart it.”
When I don’t speak truth, hard truth, I’m not actually loving. I’m loving myself more than I love the other person. Just like my small group leader so long ago, we need to be brave enough to tell each other the truth, to hold up mirrors so we can see what’s actually on the inside.
Do you find it difficult to speak truth to those around you? How do you respond when other people tell you the truth about yourself? Is there a specific relationship or friendship where speaking the truth could provide freedom and clarity?
-Abby Moore, Pelham