The truth can be really hard to hear. But a trusted, long-standing friend or leader who can be truthful is so valuable. In order to grow in Christ, I need people around me who will confidently speak biblical truth in love, even if it hurts, because flattery might feel good in a moment, but it doesn’t transform our lives.
The Holy Spirit is the great convictor, but I need women who will help point me in the right direction. So I invite a few godly, trusted, proven women in my life to speak truth when I need it. They don’t usually say, “Hey Georgie you know how you do this—well, it’s wrong!” It’s more like, “Hey Georgie, have you thought about…” or “How are you doing? I was thinking of you and how you’re walking through this…” and If I open up and ask for help in response they will speak the truth confidently.
As women, it’s so easy to resort to flattery or surface-level friendship, but God is very clear in the scriptures about how He feels about this duplicity. Proverbs 29:5 says, “A man who flatters his neighbor is spreading a net for his footsteps.” Our “new commandment” as Christians is to “love one another as Christ loved us” (John 13:34), but sometimes in our effort to love we can resort to a Christian life of politeness and flattery. God loves good manners and politeness, but He’s most concerned with our hearts. I’ve found true love doesn’t always feel good in the moment—sometimes it hurts—but that doesn’t mean it’s not love. I’d much rather someone love me truthfully than flatter me falsely.
God desires us to live in community so we can help one another in life. As women, God wants to give us the confidence to speak truth into the women around us, and the confidence to receive truth from the women around us. The hindrance to truth-telling-in-love is a fear of man or being a people-pleaser. If you are a people-pleaser you will find it really challenging to speak the truth in love because you might be more concerned with whether the person is pleased in the moment rather than whether God is pleased. Galatians 1:10 says, “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.”
I am a recovered people-pleaser, and I’ve found that a healthy fear of God is the only cure for a fear of man (or people-pleasing). When we have a healthy fear of God, meaning a sense of respect, awe and submission to God, we become more concerned with what He thinks than what ‘man’ thinks, this frees us up to speak His life-giving Word, His truth into the people around us.
Imagine a community of women who had the confidence and wisdom to speak the truth in love and to receive the truth in love? That would be an unstoppable force! But truth can be a harsh weapon, and when yielded, it can do great damage if we don’t check our heart before uttering a word. We should ask ourselves: Is my heart intention good? Or for selfish gain? Am I jealous and frustrated? Or do I genuinely want to help this person? Psalm 12:2 says, “They speak falsehood to one another; With flattering lips and with a double heart they speak.” We mustn’t have a double-heart when speaking truth into a friend, lest we become an enemy, not a friend, in that moment.
A well-known quote which I have kept close to my heart in life is, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is facing a great battle.” The confidence to speak the truth in love requires patience. It might be weeks or months of recognizing something before there is a moment where you can speak it. The soil needs to be ready, the climate correct, for this truth-seed to be received, sprout and take root.
Let’s be women who seek God for the confidence to speak His truth, His Word into the men and women around us. In next week’s blog, I’ll delve into confidence to receive truth.