Love speaks the truth with delicacy and tact

by Craig on December 8, 2010

There is a very kind and tenderhearted woman I know. There were some things that needed saying. There was some truth that needed to be told. These weren’t easy things to say. She could have chosen the smoother path and swept everything under the rug. But then, nothing would have changed – nothing would have improved, and truth would have gone unsaid.

She didn’t blurt things out. She took the time to measure her words, and thoughtfully construct what she wanted to say.  There were issues on the table and her only intent was to glorify God with a right response. This she did. I told you she was a kind and tenderhearted woman. She spoke the truth with delicacy and tact.

This was a good thing. Because the things that were said could have been hurtful.  And as each word came out I thought;

“A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench…” (IS 42:3)

There are moments when that little extra bit of compassion is required in the truth telling. This was one of those times. We put on facades. I know I do. I know if I’m insecure, and uncertain, nobody can tell – unless I tell them.  I can fake bravado as well as anyone I know. Nobody can see behind the mask.

Well, some people can.

Those people tend to be the same ones who do this love well.

She could have taken that bruised reed and obliterated it. She could have seen the flame flickering and deprived it of oxygen until it died. But instead she  glorified God with a right response.

Love speaks the truth with delicacy and tact

Truth was issued, blunt, forthright, but sincere and genteel.  Benefit of the doubt was extended, even though she wasn’t convinced it was justified. Love, in an effort to be gracious, often goes beyond what is justified.

The words were uncomfortable. Truth often is.

We varnish it,

we avoid it,

we hide it,

we use it as a weapon,

we use it as an excuse,

we often bend truth to our own needs

instead of lining up with it.

Straight and forthright and in love.

This woman I have respected. She is deserving of the high opinion I have for her. But just as you never know who’s a hero and who’s a coward until the battle reveals the character. Her character lies exposed now, and it measures up sensationally.  I can only respect her more after this, hold her in higher esteem.

Truth in love is a tightrope

and how many of us can do it well?

I’m not raising my hand too quickly.

Our Lord did it well though. He was was candid, frank, straightforward. There were times when delicacy and tact were intentionally not used. Maybe Our Lord knew enough to be able to tell when to use phrases like “brood of vipers” “Satan’s offspring”. But the wisdom it takes to always be able to choose those moments correctly – I don’t think any of us has.

Then, he also knew to speak the truth with delicacy and concern, like he did with Peter. Before Our Lord told Peter that he would deny him – before Peter had a chance to get defensive, which happened anyway, he gave Peter hope. If the apostle was listening close enough he would have heard.

Our Lord took great care not to extinguish the flickering flame.

“Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers.” (LK 22:31-32)

Then he told him about his future denials. Only after telling him that although he would turn away,  he would turn back. The truth was told, but Love spoke truth with delicacy and tact.

Today I’m going to look to repeat the act of one brave, honorable, loving, Christian woman. Today I’m on the lookout for bruised reeds, and flickering flames and being careful with the words I choose. That’s my love mission for the day. I’d love it if you adopted it too.

Since I don’t often enough observe boundaries..

and because I know I step over lines…

and because my mouth speaks before my brain is engaged…

today I’ll engage the brain, be careful with my words, and watch closely for those lines – and look to speak truth where it’s needed – with delicacy and tact.

In God’s Love

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymuss December 8, 2010 at 1:53 am

Craig, yet again another post that hits at the heart of a personal struggle. I don’t believe God inspired you to write for an audience of one, however, it is remarkable to me how each of your messages is right where my need is. I will need this wisdom you have shared later today, to begin with. Thank you for pressing on, and sharing.


Craig December 8, 2010 at 9:00 am

I want an audience of millions A. That’s my natural bent. But Our Lord keeps reminding me that I prayed at the beginning for things to work out with this blog as he intends – not as I intend. That post I had about peace? Ask for God’s will, want God’s will, Accept God’s will. I’d be a hypocrite – and a public one if I didn’t do so. I want what he wants – haven’t grown so much that I don’t want what I want too – but – hey – baby steps :)

Thank you A. it heartens me to know some things I write help.


Debbie December 8, 2010 at 2:11 am

I have said things, done things, stepped over boundaries and lines. I pray for someone as gracious as you and as gentle, to confront me and line me back up with truth. I’m sorry, Craig. May He continually go before you and show you the way. Me too. Trusting you to His loving care, knowing that He knows what to do and how to heal. your friend, deb


Craig December 8, 2010 at 9:11 am

Deb, it was a verse I tried to avoid, or explain away for many many years, (MT 6:14) – we are forgiven ONLY if we forgive. I tried to convince myself that Our Lord really didn’t mean what he said for many years. But he said it. He never minced words. He must have meant it. If I want forgiveness I MUST forgive. We all must. He said so.

And on a personal note – may I say BUNNIES GRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

feel better now. Merry Christmas


I am His beloved December 8, 2010 at 5:55 pm

I am so proud of you. I’ve stood at a distance, quietly watching in wonder. Praying for you and believing in you.
Your post , just like you is gracious, merciful, tender and kind-you are growing in grace and knowledge.
Like I said… I am so very proud of you my friend.


Kelly December 14, 2010 at 9:14 pm

This is a good blog, Craig. Thanks. Kelly


Craig December 14, 2010 at 9:20 pm

Thank you for visiting Kelly. And thank you for the kind words. I appreciate every one.


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