If you came over from Encouragement for Today, welcome.
I hesitated to share today’s devotion at first because the last thing that I wanted was to affirm anyone to use truth to hurt a woman trapped in sin.
That happens when people hold signs of hatred, or they use Scripture to make someone feel far from God’s grace. We can’t forget the image of Jesus at the well talking with the Samaritan woman, or writing a sermon in the dust as He knelt beside the adulterous woman. Those conversations didn’t keep the women down, but helped them find new life.
But I also believe that when you love someone, you are honest with them. You don’t let them run into traffic and get hit by a car without shouting out a warning, or leading them to safety. You don’t let them be abused by the enemy without letting them know there is another way.
If you feel God leading you to speak to a loved one:
• Pray. Ask for wisdom (Proverbs 8:33)
We think about wisdom just being for the other person, but we need it to. We are called to represent Christ, and we need wisdom to do that in the right way.
Ask for wisdom to approach her at the right time and with the right heart.
Ask for insight on when to talk, but also when to listen.
Ask for discernment (which is sensitivity to the real battle that is being waged rather than the obvious). Sometimes the words that she speaks might be in anger, but is it embarrassment, hurt, or a feeling that she is trapped or stuck or that things might never change?
• Don’t accuse, but speak the truth (John 8:31-32)
You don’t know all the details. You don’t know how she feels. You don’t know the lies that the enemy has spoken to her to cause her to trip and fall.
But be honest about what you do know. State facts, but with a listening ear.
Sharing the truth first begins when we understand our own lack, our own mistakes, our failures, and the immense grace shown to us by a loving Heavenly Father. How would you desire a friend to approach you? With accusations, or with truth wrapped in love?
Let her know that truth might cause temporary pain, but offers freedom.
• Don’t lecture, but encourage (John 8:36)
When you’re trapped in sin, you KNOW it. You might not admit it. You might cover it with bravado or anger or even self-righteousness. You might blame God or other people.
Once you shared the truth about what you do know, then it’s time to encourage.
Encourage her that it’s never too late. Remind her of God’s love. Be real, be honest, but understand that you can’t change her. It’s not your place to change her.
Let her know that you believe in her, and in God. You can pray. You can assure her that when she’s ready you’ll celebrate that decision with her.
Then let God do His job.
• Don’t argue (Galatians 6:1)
It’s not about being right. It’s not about winning the conversation. It’s planting a seed. Letting her know there is another way. Sometimes arguing is a way to ignite a fight, to shift the focus. But perhaps it’s also to give you information you might not be aware of.
Listening without arguing keeps the conversation focused. It also might allow you to hear the real source of the problem. Maybe you think it’s one thing, but the deeper issues have driven her to sin. Listen. All the way to the end. Don’t formulate rebuttals, but simply listen.
• Don’t fail to remind her of God’s love and mercy (John 3:17)\
But for the grace of God. . .
How many times have we heard that? But how often do we say, “I’d never do that.” None of us will ever live up to God’s standards. It’s impossible, but that’s the message of grace.
We are not God. The whole purpose of the cross was to show us that the law was ineffective for right living. It was a standard that no one could achieve.
So He offered His Son in our place so that we can stand before God with our hands held high in the name of Jesus and we find joy. We find forgiveness. We find purpose. We find destiny.
You can tell her all the things she needs to do to live right, or you can show her the mercy of Christ.
You see, that’s how we truly change. All of us. We come to Him as we are, and the more that we come to love and know Him, the more our lives are transformed. The old things are revealed and the desires for those things fade away. Then one day we realize that our thoughts are different. Our lives are different. Our choices are different.
Not because of all the things we did right, but because of knowing Jesus. We change from the inside out. That’s lasting change.
if you desire to print this out for future reference, please download the Word document and print it out for your own use: How to Speak the Truth in Love_Suzanne Eller
If you desire to purchase my book, The Woman I Am Becoming, which shares a key chapter on the power of friendship and community, click here.