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By LaRoyce Farmer-Cottrell
How To Minister The Truth In Love
“It is terrible to destroy a person’s picture of himself in the interest of truth or some other abstraction.” Doris Lessing
Mighty In Battle Ministries
This rights of this book are reserved by LaRoyce FarmerCottrell. The contents may not be reproduced without permission from the publisher. Copyright © 2005 by LaRoyce Farmer-Cottrell Scripture quotations were taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version unless otherwise noted.
Dedication I dedicate this book to those who know and love the truth, but need to know how to deliver the truth effectively.
How many times have you heard phases such as, “The truth is the light!” “The truth shall set you free!” “I had to tell them the truth for their own good!” We’ve heard these phrases throughout our lives from parents, teachers, mentors, preachers and other people who have held positions of authority in our lives. We can agree that telling someone the truth is the best way we can make others aware of their shortcomings; however, we often fail to use the wisdom needed in delivering the truth in a biblical way. My objective is to demonstrate, according to the scriptures, how men and women of God should present the truth to others in a loving, timely manner: Sometimes the truth we tell is not pure. To have a deeper understanding of what the truth is and the responsibility we have to properly deliver the truth to others, we must know what voice we’re hearing. Is it the voice of God, the voice of Satan or could what we want to say be contaminated by our own reasoning, criticism, sarcasm, harshness, rudeness, or hidden motives, and spiritual truth is nowhere in the picture? This “truth” is justified by our own fleshly desire to hurt, harm, set straight, tell it like it is, and be blunt. We hide behind the Word of God so we won’t be held responsible for hurting others with our version of the truth. In order to tell the truth we must first be truthful with ourselves and our motives. We must learn to be firm in the loving manner that will please God and will be lawful to the body of Christ.
What Is Truth?
Truth: To correspond fact or reality; accuracy in description or portrayal. Synonyms for truth are: FACT, CERTAINTY, REALITY, ACCURACY, GENUINENESS, EXACT, LOYAL, INTEGRITY, UPRIGHT, and SINCERITY. The truth can be a beautiful thing if we understand it is a tool given by God to help us build others up in the kingdom of God. St. John 14:16 says … I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me. In this verse of scripture Christ addressed him self as being: The Way, The Truth, and The Life. In Him we find the way to do things the right way: The proper way to be true and bring truthfulness, and to have a life filled with abundance when we follow his footsteps. In this verse we find that Christ is revealing himself as honest, pure, sincere, the manner you should follow, your sense of direction, the right road to take, the one who should be trusted. The word of God says in Psalms 33:4 For the word of the Lord is right, and all his works are done in truth. We have established that all that God is and does is ordained by truth.
Christ is truth! Christ rules by truth! The truth motivates Christ!
We know that Christ rules in truth by reading Psalms 96:12-13 Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the woods rejoice before the Lord, for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth, he shall judge the world with righteousness and the people with His truth.
How do we know that the truth motivates Christ? Psalm 25:10 All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.
Truth Is What God Is
Truth is Christ and Christ is truth. In order to be in Christ we too must walk in a spirit of truth. Our prayer should be as David’s in the book of Psalms chapter 51 verse 6 “Behold, thou desires truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part thou shalt make me know wisdom. In the verse above we see how both truth and wisdom go hand in hand. With truth comes responsibility. With wisdom we can be responsible with the truth. What is wisdom? Wisdom is simply understanding and knowledge gained by experience. Wisdom is a characteristic of God. When we gain wisdom we have taken on Godliness.
Speaking The Truth God’s Way
When we speak we must operate in the same manner of Christ. Speaking the truth God’s way -- What do we know about God when He speaks? Job 37 verses 5 says: God thundered marvelously with his voice, great things doeth he . . . We know that when God speaks it’s creative, powerful, pure, tender, and honest. His word teaches, directs, encourages, and reassures. It is loving, merciful, full of grace, and has no hidden motives. It’s revealing, plain, wise, true, serious, unshakable, clear and righteous. How do we learn to speak in the same manner of our Lord? We speak with love -- in truth and in wisdom.
Speaking in Love
How many know that God is love? In order to dwell in God we must first and foremost dwell in love. Many of us fall short on knowing how to speak in love because we don’t know what love is. Let’s examine love from the love verse that so many of us read and quote but haven’t gotten the full revelation of 1st Corinthians 13:4-8 Charity suffered long, and is kind, charity envieth not, charity vaunted not itself, it not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all thing, endureth all things. Charity never faileth. Simply put: Love is patient. Love is Kind. Love does not envy. Love does not boast. Love is not proud. Love is not rude. Love is not self-seeking. Love is not easily angered. Love keeps no record of wrong. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Love always protects. Love always hopes. Love always perseveres. Love never fails. All of these things are to be taken into consideration before we call ourselves speaking what is true. Are we speaking in love? Ephesians Chapter 4 verse 15 tells us to speak the truth in love. This means our
words must be given out of a Spirit of patience, full of kindness, not full of envy and should not be boastful. Our speech should not be proud or rude, selfishness, not out of anger or resentment from past mistakes or failures. Our words must always be protective, which means we address what the problem is without making the other person feel worthless or useless when we are finished speaking. Benjamin Franklin was considered to be one of the greatest men of his time. He was an American statesman, printer, inventor, scientist, writer, and politician. He accomplished many things in his lifetime. One thing that helped him to succeed in all those areas was his knowing the proper way to deal with the truth. In taking on the truth he said this: “Use no hurtful deceit, think innocently and justly and speak if you speak, speak accordingly.” King Solomon the author of the book of Proverbs which is called the book of wisdom, talks intensely about how our words are to be pure and not tainted. One of his pleas to the Lord was very inspiring to me -found in Proverbs 8 verses 6-9 Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things. For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge. No froward (disobedient) or perverse (contrary) words will come from his mouth. What a huge statement. One of the wisest men in the world realized the importance of speaking truth and being honest with pure motives. He also wrote in Proverbs 10:31 the mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom, but the froward tongue shall be cut off. Froward people are bold, blunt, and presumptuous; leaning to their own understanding. How it comes out is the way it comes out with no regards to what’s being delivered. However, the word of the Lord says that the froward
shall be cut off. Cut off from what? Cut off from Him -- From His presence, and from His will. God says that a wholesome tongue is a tree of life…. He wants our speech to be filled with life. The angels of heaven and hell both have jobs. Their jobs are to respond to our words. Their jobs are to bring to pass the spoken words from our mouth. The angels of the Lord respond to the Words of God (words of love, purity, honesty, and wisdom), where as the demons of hell respond to the negative, vain, painful, destructive words that we speak. Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. Proverbs 16;24 People of God, we must stop giving the devil ammunition to fight our brothers and sisters. After we’ve finished telling them the truth for their own good, so we say, what’s going on inside them? Are they bruised? Have they been damaged? Is their self worth or self-image now lowered because you needed to be honest with them? God forbid. What we’ve done is opened the door for Satan to come in and use our words to put our sisters and brothers in bondage both spiritually and mentally. A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. (Proverbs 25:11) A word fitly spoken: a word for that time and season; a word of wisdom and truth; a word that God has ordained to go along with the proper attitude of truth.
A Word In Due Season
How selfish are we? Before we decide to speak the truth to someone, we must realize that timing matters. Sometimes the mental condition of a person is at question. Or that the cares of life can send one over the edge. That one more thing can push them too far. One more critical conversation can send them into meltdown. We as humans think self first others last, especially when we feel we have been wronged. When we feel if we don’t say something about what has been done that others are getting the best of us, our pride is bruised so we need to feel good about our selves again at any cost. If in the process
other’s feelings get hurt while we’re getting back our self-worth, then, oh well. “I must say what needs to be said“ So you think! But what’s being accomplished? Real spiritual maturity is evident by how well the tongue is controlled. “The best time for you to hold your tongue is the time you feel you must say something or bust. (Josh Billing) The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things. Proverbs 16:23 Have you ever prayed before telling someone the truth? Have you asked the Lord if your motives are pure before you attempt to open your mouth? Have you asked the Lord if this is some thing to confront or let go? Have you ever asked the Lord if the other person can handle the truth right now? If you are ready for delivery or do you need to go pray? Have you properly lined yourself and armed yourself with the word of God before combating what could lead to strife if you aren’t careful? Have you asked the Lord about you? Prayed about you? Are you in the clear? The Bible speaks of being in the right season, speaking at the right time. To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to rend, and a time to sew, a time to keep silent, and a time to speak…Ecclesiastes 3:1-7 this verse let us know that timing is important to God. The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness. Proverbs 10:32 Wouldn’t it be nice if we grasped the understanding of being in seasons, in truth, and honesty. This takes humility. (…with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love: Ephesians 4:2) It takes willingness to give up being right to learn the right way of doing something. When we ask God to teach us to speak, we can accomplish His will with our lips. D.L. Moody says that “God sends no one away empty except those who are full of themselves.” Being prideful starts trouble. It starts trouble in the spiritual realm as well as the natural. When we come in contact with arrogant, blunt, straightforward people, we never forget the experience. Most times we regret having conversations with them and pray to never
have another one. On the other hand, humility is pleasing to others. You can never offend anyone by being modest in speech. To be humble is to get self out of the way and focus on other people, their needs, feelings, emotions. Humility in speech keeps the focus off you and puts the focus on God. The Bible teaches us that,
“He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his truth in the Lord shall be made fat. He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whose walketh wisely, he shall be delivered”.
Let our God deliver you from harshness, bluntness, and telling it like it is without being in the spirit of love and meekness. Remember this, when you speak you are at all times representing God. You are in ministry twenty four hours of the day. You can choose to minister love with your lips or poisons. Isn’t the truth ministry in itself? And we are just the instruments by which it is delivered? People of God let us not walk in pride but in humility. Not stirring up strife but Love. Hatred stirreth up stife: but love covereth all sins. Proverb 10:12 Another example of impurity in speech is where there is frowardness, strife will follow. A froward man soweth strife: and a whisper seperateth chief friends. Proverb 16:28 We know that Christ has ordained a way of thinking that doesn’t go along with the worlds. Nothing we do should be done in the manner of the unsaved or unrighteous. Our language is different. How we handle confrontation is different, because we have been blood washed and redesigned into the image of God. No matter what we have been taught by others about how to deliver the truth, our teacher is now the Holy Ghost who will guide us into all truths. How blessed we are that God loves us. He sent us a teacher to live inside of us. To alert us of right and wrong ways of doing things. O Lord, let the words of my heart and meditations of my heart be acceptable to you. I want to be acceptable unto you Lord. This should be our daily plea. How do we change our way of speaking? By inviting God into our lives we are changed in his presence in prayer and reading the word of life. We can change our way of speaking by having a heart that wants to
change into a heart that God can use. Most importantly, change is effected by being honest with ourselves first. James 1:26 says… if any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. See yourself through the eyes of God. The bible is a mirror and the image we reflect must be in line with what we read. What we read must line up with what we live.
The Truth Verses Judgmental and Critical Attitudes
What is an attitude? The dictionary describes attitude as; an opinion or general feeling about something. Nothing that is factual. Only what we think to be true. To be critical is not approving: tending to find fault with a particular person or things in general. When we give comments or judgment this only means that we have analyzed or judged something or someone in a detailed way. Meaning we have a theory of what is true. The book of Matthew the 7th chapter is clear on how God views people with Judgmental and Critical attitudes. “Judge not, that ye be not judge. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considererest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to they brother, Let me pull our the mote our of thine eye, and behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5 Hmm……Let’s look at some to the synonyms for the word judgmental. We have: hypercritical, condemnatory, negative, and disapproving. Synonyms for the word critical are: unfavorable, nitpicking, unsympathetic, derogatory, faultfinding, and censorious. We can’t find
the words love or grace in there anywhere. There is nothing to promote Godly behavior in there but with judgmental and critical attitudes we decide to tell the truth in love. And we even find scripture to do so. When Luke 6:37 says… Judge not, and ye shall be not judged; condemn not and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven. What happens when we judge? We put our selves up as equal to God. God and only God is allowed to judge. But why dost thou judge thy brother? Or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ? We all have to stand before God for the deeds done in our bodies and the thoughts and intents of our hearts. How un-pure our words are when it comes from these spirits. How un-clear the listener is about our connection with God. No love -No peace -- Nothing to serve as a buffer to what can already be a crucial situation. What motives are we using to tell the truth? What is the reason for our behavior? What’s the goal or the incentive? Are we being driven by revenge? Is it selfish ambitions? The force behind our ways are questionable. They are not pure. Some are knowing and some without knowledge. This is just the way we have grown accustomed to doing things.
Are We Really Being Strong?
There are attitudes and ways of speaking that we believe help us to appear to others as being strong. We see people with seemingly powerful ways of speaking and we pattern our self after them. They never let anyone get the best of them so we think. Our inner desire is to be the strongest helps us to make excuses for are rudeness and ungodliness. Most times inner vows we have made because of past embarrassments or feeling of passiveness, cause us to approach people in a cut-throat way in order to be heard and feel justified. Not knowing that after we have finished talking, God has rejected us along with the
person who has wronged us. Why? You may ask, because of the ungodly approach. Because of words that could have gone unsaid that our flesh could not resist saying. Let examine some examples of wrong attitudes, Blunt: Frank or honest without sensitivity; very frank or straight forward and showing no delicacy or consideration. Sarcasm: Cutting language. Remarks that mean the opposite of what they seem to say and are intended to mock or degrade. Brutally-honest: Ruthless and cruel; extremely harsh and severe; direct in manner, insensitive in manner or speech. Like an animal, relating to a beast. Cynical: Distrustful of human nature; doubting and contemptuous of human nature or the motives, goodness, or sincerity of others. Snappish: Showing irritation. Showing a sharpness or curtness caused by being impatient or irritation. Harsh: Difficult to endure; severely critical; severely scrutinizing, rigid in manner. Sharp: Critical and unsympathetic. When we have a heart filled with these types of attitudes, how can we begin to say we know truth? Our heart condition must change before we can speak truth. Lord, create in me a clean heart and renew the right spirit in me. Colossian 4:6 says…Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
When speaking say only what must be said. When telling the truth say what’s true and avoid the trap of protecting your self more than the person you are speaking with. Remember the truth is not something that is always easy for the listener or the presenter, so if you are enjoying telling someone the truth, you may want to check your motives behind why you chose to deliver this particular message. It is important to send the right message in all areas: • What tone of voice are you using while you speak? • What is your physically position? • Are you being demanding? • Are you folding your arms as you speak? • Are you making unclear faces? • Are you making eye contact without trying to intimidate? • Do you have your fingers waving in the listeners face? • Are you using the proper body language? • Are you stiff and rigid? • Are you being a good listener? • Are you being watchful to the other persons’ body language or response? Is your point the only one that manners or makes sense? • Are you trying to control the entire conversation with what you think and how you feel? • Are you the only person talking? • Are you making yourself aware if the other person is following what you are saying? • Are you reacting to their hostility by using hostility? “Keep in mind that 99.44 percent of the truth is about as big a dose as anyone can handle. The other .55 percent is lethal. Resist the temptation to disclose the deadly part of the message.” (Nicholas V Juppa)
Words To Avoid When Delivering The Truth
Some words are just designed to have another person put up their guard. How can we deliver a message when the first sentence we’ve opened to do our bidding has already done harm to the listener? Such phrases as: “First of all,” “The problem with you is,” “What you need to do is,” “Your biggest mistake is,” “I hate when you,” “Why can’t you,” “Let me tell you something for your own good,” “That’s silly,” “You just don’t think,” “What kind of person would do that,” “How stupid can you be?,” “How can you let something like that bother you?,” “You’re being childish,” “You did it this time,” “That’s it!,” and the list goes on. What am I saying here? I am saying that we can’t start off with criticism without continuing to be that way throughout the conversation. Already we have attacked the listener and their job is now to defend themselves at any cost. Their reaction to us will be negative because we offered them a negative delivery. Where there is patience and humility, there is neither strife nor anger. When we are setting the right foundations for truth they must be Godly. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace… (1st Cor. 14:33) We must place a firm foundation on walking peaceably. “It is important to say what you mean as well as it is to mean what you say.” Using sarcasm or cynicism are not Godly ways of speaking honestly in a spirit of peace. These are tools that Satan uses to bring about confusion and strife. A key to keeping peace is becoming a good listener. You can miss the other person’s reasoning or feelings or even apology if all you are concerned about is how powerful your responses should be when it’s your turn to talk. To communicate successfully is to pay close attention to the other person. Are you monopolizing the conversation? What is the posture of the person who’s doing the listening? Are you asking questions making sure what is being said is what you really mean to get
across or if what you have said has been taken another way. “It takes two to speak the truth, one to speak and another to hear.” (Henry David Thoreau) God gave us two ears and one mouth for very good reasons. He expects us listen to others not just tell them to listen to us. James 1:19 says….Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. A wise man listens.
Loving But Firm
I’ve heard the phrase “to be loving but firm” many times. But I’ve had very few examples of the expression. Loving but Firm in speech is not easy to find. This phrase means that I’m honest and serious, but sincere and caring as well. How can that be? Is this achievable? This means that I’m being both strong and wise at the same time. It means that the person will respect me for telling them the truth because I have respected them in my approach of the truth. I know how to talk to people about a problem without turning things into a bigger problem. Loving but firm. Let’s get a greater understanding about being loving. I found synonyms for the word love and they helped me to understand the position that I’m suppose to take. To love is to be tender, passionate, friendly, adoring, dear and darling. To love means to care for, be devoted to, to enjoy or like, to worship, to be fond of, to hold dear. Romans 12:10 tells us to … “be kindly affectionate one to another with brotherly love, in honor preferring one another. In Ephesians 4:2 it says With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love …” Are these verses telling me that once love has been perfected in me everything will fall into its proper place? If I humble myself and honor my brother I can learn how to talk to him. If I’m kind and affectionate God will bless me to be cautious in my approach. “The secret of a governable tongue is not self control but God control.” (G.S.) Set a
watch, O Lord before my mouth, keep the door of my lips. Psalm 141:3 How do I become aware of my speaking you may ask? Am I to go around uncomfortable and unsure of myself because I don’t want to offend my brothers or sisters in Christ? No! What you are to do is pray. Be honest with yourself and God. Ask the Holy Spirit to be your teacher. Ask God to teach you the dangers of trying to minister in your emotions and how your integrity can be challenged when you don’t use wisdom when you speak. Have pure motives. Our motives should be to build, to uplift to make aware of and encourage. When we abide in the truth with the right motives and agendas then God can be glorified in us. In all we do God must be glorified. In order for us to decrease we must be willing to let God increase. Allow God to increase you in wisdom and to reveal to you what it means to speak in a spirit of love. Refuse to allow Satan to use you as a tool to stir up strife. But let the Lord be able to impress upon you the spirit of and fruits of love in all areas of your life.
Where The “I” Is Present, Pride Follows
One thing that I learned to do is listen to my self when I speak. During confrontations if I’m using the word I too often I realize the spirit behind my speaking is all me and no God. When I hear saints say things like “I had to tell them off good, I put her in her place, “I am not the one” and my favorite one “I got her straight.” I realize they are only saying what is in their hearts. The heart condition has not been changed. They are still operating in the flesh speaking in their own strength, knowledge and power. Consulting God was totally out of the question. Matters were taken into their own hands. This attitude means they have not died to self in this area. Self righteousness can never lead us to God’s righteousness. “The man who is prepared to die is prepared to live.” (Vance Havner) The Bible tells us in Philippians 3:7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Maybe when you told them how you felt you thought you had gained your respect or authority back, however the Bible says you only find gain in Christ
when you come His way. We are always searching for was to protect our self image when that is exactly what we need to lose in order to find Christ. So many times on our own, the decision is made that God’s help is not needed. We can handle it on our own. Pride! Not only is it wrong, but the above statement implies there is bragging. These have forgotten who they are, ministers of love and righteousness. That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. (Philemon 1:6) Pray with me: Lord, teach me to be a servant that you can entrust with the truth. Not my truth or way of dealing with the truth, but your truth. Lord, instruct my spiritual eyes and ears to know the inner needs of my brother and sister so I can help them grow in you. Lord use me for a tool so the world can see how beautiful you are. Help me to Speak at the right time and let me always pray about what I want to say before I say it. Help me not to allow my emotions to dictate to me what words or phrases I use, but that your Spirit will speak truth and it will be life and not death to the listener. Lord forgive me of past hurt I’ve caused others, by being ignorant of what you desire me to do. Let grace and mercy be my teachers as I walk in integrity. I love you Lord. I want all that I do and say to reflect the love I have inside of me that was given by you. Help me to teach as well as be teachable; to honor the truth and speak the truth clearly. I ask these things in your name Father God. Amen.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Minister Laroyce Farmer-Cottrell is a firm believer in the power of prayer. She has ministered deliverance and healing through her writing. At an early age she began a letter writing ministry to the incarcerated and homebound. Laroyce is a gifted poet who has dedicated her gift unto the lord and her hands to writing. Laroyce is committed to sharing the love of God to all who will hear and receive. She’s a dedicated mother of three and a devoted wife of 10 years. She lives in the Chicagoland area and attends House of Prayer & Healing Apostolic Faith Church under the teachings of Pastor Arlene Farmer. Laroyce works faithfully at what her hands find to do in God’s house, she has taught prayer clinics at her local assembly, she is the worship leader and also heads the out-reach ministry. Laroyce believes God has called her to minister to the hurting and forgotten, she feels that she can identify with them.