Melinda, children and I were out-of-town. While visiting some friends, we attended a Sunday morning Bible class. The teacher was teaching from the book of Ephesians. In that book it says, “put away lying, speak every man truth” (Ephesians 4:25).
One woman asked during the class, “Must we always tell the truth? For instance, what if someone asks how I like her dress, must I be honest?”
Various answers were given, some good, some not so good. One said it might be good to ignore the question and pretend you didn’t hear.
One said, “Maybe you could say, ‘I didn’t quite understand the question, could you say it again’” hoping that it will be worded differently the next time. Others said that one can tactfully answer saying something like, “this other dress I prefer for it really brings out the color in your eyes.”
Yes, we can be tactful. In fact, our words are to be “seasoned with salt,” we are to be wise in “how” we “answer every man” (Col. 4:6). But, we must always speak the truth.
Folks, I am concerned that this politically correct society that does not want to offend anyone has rubbed off on the church. Moreover, it goes deeper than dresses. I’ve heard one member of the church ask another member, “Do you think, spiritually speaking, I did what was right?” The one asked answered, “I’d probably done the same if I was in your shoes.” But that is not what was asked. The question concerns if the one did what was spiritually right. However, the one asked is too concerned about offending to tell the truth, and what is needful.
I’ve known members that live next door to non-members but they never tell them what they need to hear to be saved, lest they offend. They behave the same way toward their non-Christian, or wayward family members. Folks, this is not beneficial to them, and it is cowardness.
I ask you to consider the word of Proverbs 27:6, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” A true friend says the truth. A true friend tells what is needful.
Back to answering an uncomfortable question: (1) speak the truth (Eph. 4:25; Col. 3:9). (2) Do so with love (Eph. 4:15) and tact (Col. 4:6).
Some may not want to hear the truth. But if they didn’t want to hear they shouldn’t have asked. My friend, Alice Stone, told me this – and she is right!
Others are craving to hear the truth. I believe that the reason Dr. Phil and Dr. Laura are so popular is that some are longing for honesty, and they are sick of folks who’ll just tell them what they want to hear – sycophants.
Whatever the motive in the person asking the question, a Christian is to speak the truth. If an answer is given, it should be truthful.