There is an old adage that says, “Just follow your heart; it’ll never lead you wrong.” While I certainly see the good in that phrase, if you truly stop to think about it, you’ll realize how dangerous it is.
Our hearts can lead us to do some pretty stupid things. Because if we’re not careful, we start doing things we feel good about— not necessarily things God feels good about.
Jeremiah 17: 9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
It’s the truth. All of our hearts, no matter how pure they are, can be very deceitful. They can be guilty of misleading and harming us in the long run.
So, how can we keep people we love from “following their heart” straight into danger? We can prize two things— loving and telling the truth.
Jesus was known for doing both of these things well. He always loved people, but always told them the truth, even when they didn’t want to hear it. He recognized the truth in Proverbs 27:6 says, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”
Paul commands us to do the same in Ephesians 4:15. He writes, “Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor…”
As we begin putting this act to practice in our daily lives, there are a few specific questions we can ask that will help to do it well—to do it like Jesus.
First, we can ask, “What should loving and telling the truth look like?”
Well, it’ll look a lot like it did for Jesus. Jesus was both appreciated by those who accepted His words, and persecuted by those who would rather keep living their own way.
Secondly, we should ask, “What should loving and telling the truth feel like?” John 16:12 answers that for us when Jesus tells His disciples, “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.”
Jesus didn’t spring things on people if He knew that they couldn’t bear them in that moment. There is always a right time and place for lovingly speaking truth.
Another question we can ask is, “Why is loving and telling the truth so hard?” That’s because when sharing wisdom, we need to have all the right attributes accompanying the truth we’re sharing. James 3:17 lists them when it says, “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”
If we will learn to love and tell the truth how Jesus did, our relationships will grow healthier by the day. Jesus’ way is always the best way!