Have you met this woman? The one who feels that it is her obligation in life to be truthful to you no matter the cost? My mom was that woman for me and I can still hear her now…
“Are you going to go out like that?”
“Women like you should not wear bathing suits like that.”
“You need rouge.”
Since we are talking about truth I have to tell you that sometimes that kind of honesty is super painful. I asked my mom why she felt the need to tell it so straight and her reply was, “I’m your mom. No one else is going to tell you the truth. I’m like your personal truth fairy.”
No offense mom, but the truth fairy is a *insert bad word here. *
My mom had the very best intentions. She truly wanted to prevent me from having a social disaster that would register on the Richter scale. I would estimate that 90% of the time, she was right.
You may have heard me mention in the past that I didn’t grow up in church. Not because we were anti-church by any stretch. It’s just that where I grew up, the general consensus on church was that it was ‘for bible thumpers.’ I didn’t understand why anyone would want to thump a bible but I did understand that it wasn’t good. So through no fault of my parents, I never had the knowledge of Jesus to wrap my brain around until I was a full-blown adult with three kids of my own.
Enter a new phrase…truth in love.
Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. Ephesians 4:15 (NLT)
If you don’t look over your bible once in awhile, you will for sure miss the memo. Yes, we are supposed to speak the truth. It’s just that we are supposed to deliver it with a chocolate candy coating of love. (Dark chocolate for me, please. Antioxidants, you know.)
This is something I wish I had understood when I was younger. The dangers of taking the truth straight up are that you can assign meaning that isn’t there. After my mom’s ‘help’ thoughts would spin in my mind about myself that might have made Jesus cry. Man, can words hurt, even when the intention is good.
So according to the verse listed, if we speak the truth in love, we can become more and more like Christ. Check. That’s a very good thing. In fact, I am super fortunate to have a truth fairy in my life now that understands this deeply. I love and trust her immensely. Sometimes the truth is hard to hear but she delivers it with great panache.
“Anne, here is the truth in love…that’s messed up.”
See the difference? Ok, I tease a little but sometimes it’s ok to laugh at the truth. It’s not always bad.
Still, when I let those thoughts of my youth infect my brain, it became a pretty bad habit. I wasn’t very kind to myself when I messed up, or thought I had messed up. I needed to learn to speak the truth in love to myself as much as to others. Wow, is that hard. Some days are still hard but I figure it’s a process. And with my truth fairy friend, I am getting better. I just call her and ask her to check my thinking and she sets me straight.
Recently I have learned that there is another art to truth fairy-ness. It’s the ability to hear, filter and accept truth when it is NOT delivered in love. Yeah, that happens. We can blame Tina Fey for the movie ‘Mean Girls.’ But I digress…
When faced with a truth teller who missed the Ephesians 4:15 memo, what do we do? It seems to me we have a few choices. We can 1) believe it and hide like turtles while mentally abusing all aspects of the situation or, 2) filter it through our knowledge of God, assuming the best and being kind to ourselves while we learn. I’ve done it both ways and I can tell you from experience that door #2 is much healthier and includes a lot less crying.
I love my mom, who passed away almost a decade ago, because she wanted me to be the best version of me. I adore my current truth fairy friend because I think we all need someone who wants to help prevent us from stumbling if possible. And I am wicked thankful for Jesus and His band of brothers who helped me understand that importance of love in speech.
So to all the truth fairies out there, don’t forget to add a heaping dose of love.
Do you have a truth fairy in your life? Tell me about her in the comments.