Correcting with Kindness

Ephesians 4:25, 32 “25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another….32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Christians are to acknowledge the authority of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life. There is no place where the authority of Jesus Christ does not exist. We are commanded to take the light of the truth of Jesus into the entirety of our world. We are to affirm the light of truth in our personal lives, in our families, in our church, and in our community. When the light of the truth of Christ shines, it exposes the darkness of evil actions and deceptions. What are the best ways to effectively share the light of the truth?

These two verses are bookends of instruction given by the Apostle Paul to the church in Ephesus and the authority of these instructions applies to us as well. Paul explains that through the gift of spiritual life, believers in Jesus as Savior and Lord have come to a new way of living. Believers put off the old man of falsehood and lies and put on the new man of righteousness and truth. The result of this new way of life means dishonesty ceases and truthfulness characterizes our interpersonal relationships.

We are instructed to speak the truth to our neighbor. So, who is our neighbor? Our neighbor is anyone who crosses our path in need, and we can meet that need. Our neighbor could be a believer in the church or an unbeliever outside the church. Because of the gospel of New Covenant grace, we are to be truth-bearers to the people we meet in the course of life.

Between verses 25 and 32 Paul speaks to a few areas where the light of truth needs to shine. Truth requires anger and rage to be under control. Truth demands that people work rather than steal to meet their needs and the needs of others. Communication that is divisive and critical is wrong. Giving place to the flesh grieves the Holy Spirit. Paul sums up his instruction by specifically calling out bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander, and malice. All of these are matters that we must confront with truth. 

The manner we employ when exposing these dark deeds with the light of truth is also important. We are not to be caustic with others when sharing. We are to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving. We need to care enough about others that we are willing to confront sin. We also need to care enough about others that we display that we are concerned about them by not being critical and condemning. 

Church, we must be willing to speak the truth to others needing correction, and may God enable us to do this correcting with kindness.