Like all kids, I fell and scraped my knee. Mom took me in the bathroom, cleaned the wound with a bit of water, dried my knee and applied the dark-red Mercurochrome. I knew it would be okay once the wonderful-smelling medicine was rubbed on the scrape and covered with a Band-Aid. A kiss on the bandage never hurt.
Then would come the dreaded day when the Band-Aid needed to come off so the wound could be checked and more medicine applied. These were the days before anti-stick bandages and usually the scab had formed into the gauze bandage. A quick and sturdy pull on that plastic strip afixed to my knee always led to more tears … but also more Mercurochrome!
No matter how gentle Mom was, ripping that bandage off was my boo-boo wasn’t fun. It hurt, but only for a little bit.
Truth is sometimes like those old Band-Aids: it can be painful. But there’s a difference between another kid pulling off the bandage in cruelty and having your mother do it. The difference is love.
Paul writes to the Ephesians about the dangers of spiritual immaturity and the deception of poor theology. Then he adds this advice: … speaking the truth in love … (Eph 4:15).
There are people who speak the truth to cause pain. They really want to “let you have it.” That’s not Paul’s directive. It’s not about how the truth is conveyed, but the motivation behind speaking the truth. Sometimes the truth hurts, but when it’s dosed in love, the pain is but momentary as more medicine is applied to aid in the healing.
If you’re not speaking the truth to your friend from a heart of genuine love: keep your hand off his Band-Aid.