I read a very funny story the other day. It seems an elderly Mississippi grandma was called as a witness in a trial.
The prosecuting attorney approached her on the stand and asked, “Mrs. Jones, do you know me?” She responded, “Why yes, I do know your Mr. Smith. I have known you since you were a boy, and frankly you have been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife and you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you are a big shot when you do not have the brains to realize you will never amount to anything more than a two-bit pusher. Yes, I know you.”
The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room and asked, “Mrs. Jones, do you know the defense attorney?”
She again replied, “Why yes, I do. I’ve known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster too. He is lazy, unkind and has a drinking problem. He can’t build a normal relationship with anyone and his law practice is one of the worst in the entire state. Not to mention he cheated on his wife…several times, once with your wife.”
The defense attorney nearly died. And suddenly the judge asked both counselors to approach his bench and in a very quiet voice muttered, “If either of you idiots asks her if she knows me, I will send you both to the electric chair!”
The grandma may have been speaking the truth, but she definitely forgot the “in love” part. And she is not that different than many of us. We identify a wrong done, an error and we are all about confrontation.
I think that is why Paul included in his letter to the church in Ephesus this injunction: “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is Christ.” (4:15).
Grown ups have a better sense of verbal self-control than children. And mature Christians should exhibit that same kind of maturity and self-control. So this week, even if you think you have the “goods” on someone, stop and think. Make sure that the truth you are about to mention is well seasoned with love.