Today there is a skill that has been lost in our interactions with one another. That skill is the art of speaking truth.
We live in a post-modern society that tries to marginalize truth claims and elevate personal experience over facts. The warring of worldviews will continue to be an ever-present activity. This tension has been throughout history, as in the present, and will be in the future.
Does the warring of ideas need to destroy individuals, families and communities? The manner in which we speak to one another matters. The substance, tone and intentions of how we speak matter.
Maybe my heart is raw from the constant political fighting and mudslinging commercials. Maybe it's the junk mail filling my mailbox with political ads vilifying one another. Maybe it's the salesperson trying to get me to buy something I don't need.
If you look at how we speak to one another, it is not with truth or compassion. We don't speak with the intent of peace but with the intent of victory and dominance. This is not how Christians are to speak to one another.
The Old Testament prophet Zechariah wrote during a difficult time in Jewish history. He wrote during the post-exile when the Jews were returning from Babylon to their homeland in Israel. Everything the Jews had known was destroyed and they were rebuilding their lives.
In the midst of this, Zechariah writes a message of hope, encouragement and peace for his people. We would do good to listen to his words today.
"These are the things you must do: Speak truth to one another; make true and sound decisions within your city gates." Zechariah 8:16 (CSB)
We are being commanded to speak the truth to one another. Truth is the foundation of our relationships. Truth is the needed ingredient to make wise and sound decisions. Truth is to be spoken openly in the community.
If truth is our foundation, why don't we seek to speak the truth to one another? It's very simple. We don't really care for the people around us. The reason we don't speak the truth is that we have a heart issue. Our heart is centered on ourselves and we want to win. We want to have power and be in control.
We shouldn't be surprised that we have a heart issue. Truth can set us free, but truth also leaves us vulnerable. If I speak to my friend truth, how will they respond? What will they think about me? The real question is, are we speaking the truth of God's word or are we speaking our own agenda?
To speak the truth, you need to know the truth. Truth and wisdom are from God. If you need the truth, then seek it. It will not be found in your favorite leader's talking points and it will definitely not be found in a Facebook post. Ask God to show you the truth.
I encourage you this season to learn the art of speaking truth to one another. If we speak truth there will be peace. Let these words encourage your heart and guide your speech.
"Therefore, love truth and peace." Zechariah 8:19 (CSB)