Speaking the Truth Lovingly2 Corinthians 11:1-15Theme: Courageous compassion.This week’s lessons teach us how to confront sin in a caring way. LessonThese super apostles were saying all kinds of negative things about Paul. They were saying he was not a trained speaker; that he was not a true apostle. Paul chose not to take any money for his preaching, and they were throwing that up in his face, saying that if he was a true apostle he would take money. Paul found himself in a no-win situation.
So he said, “I may not be a trained speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way” (2 Cor. 11:6). Paul was not a trained speaker in the forms of rhetoric that were so common and so valued in the Greek world. But he wanted the Corinthians to look beneath the surface to see that he did have knowledge of the Scriptures, which he backed up through service. He summarized his appeal in verse 11 where he reminds the Corinthians how much he loves them.
In the final analysis, that is what wins people. And that is what we must demonstrate if we truly are children of God. I know of a writer, a leader in the evangelicalism in this country, who speaks the truth, at least as I read his material. And yet, there is a tone to his writing that is making his appeals ineffective. I have heard people point out that his words are harsh and judgmental, and that he is just an angry young man. That is the tone that comes across. He is speaking the truth, but his failure to speak the truth in love produces a result that I believe he does not intend.
Here, by contrast, is the Apostle Paul, who spoke the truth as clearly as it can be spoken, but who quite obviously was speaking it lovingly. And, because of that, he was blessed by God and was successful in his attempts to reclaim this and other churches.
May God give us the wisdom to do the same in our dealings with one another and in the church at large to the praise and the glory of Jesus Christ, who above all, speaks the truth lovingly in his dealings with us. Study Question
Why is our tone as important as our words?
Further StudyStudy the following passages pertaining to living speech: Matthew 15:10-20; 1 Corinthians 13:1; Galatians 6:1-5; James 3:5-12.
ApplicationSpeaking the truth in love is not an easy task. Think of someone in your life who needs to hear either words of encouragement or words of correction. Reach out with the appropriate words this very day.