So many times we choose one over the other, or simply forget to speak truth IN LOVE. It is amazing what you can do to help someone grow when you bring these two together: TRUTH and LOVE. In any relationship: friendship, working relationship, romantic relationship, parent-child relationship...any relationship, it is important to let the people know the truth. So many of us do not like confrontation and would not let the persons know how we are really feeling, so we sweep the issue under the rug . Other times, we cannot handle the truth about ourselves and react in a way that it's impossible for others to tell us how they really feel. Then there are instances when the truth is being spoken in a harsh manner and instead of building up and helping us to see how we can correct mistakes it does the opposite - it shrinks us into the ground. And yet, there are even those times when truth is spoke in love but no matter how much you speak truth and how much love comes with that - there is no change in behaviour.
One cannot operate effectively without the other. Truth spoken without love and without solution is plain criticism and condemnation and is not helpful. Love given without truth and accountability is a crutch that enables inadequacy and holds back growth process and the experience of authenticity in relationships that are real. It's like having a parent who loves their child but does not let them know when that child has done wrong...or a friend who would not point out a flaw in you that essentially continues to hurt you, such as a habit that sabotages other relationships and life in general. Or a loved one who does not speak truth in love to push you to get to another level of greatness, because they are afraid of confrontation and would rather not tell you the truth...so you can't grow.
Nevertheless, how would it change our immediate environment if we intentionally committed ourselves to speaking truth in love and, by doing that, helped people to grow? How much would we also grow if we were to commit to both - speaking the truth in love and being humble enough to receive truth when it is spoken to us. It is definitely a commitment worthwhile making - the growth that would follow will change your life! Do not be afraid to tell people the truth, especially those you love, at the expense of your fear of confrontation. You might be that person who can be their mirror from whom they can learn and grow. They may not thank you now, but they will thank you later ;)
Having close people in my life who are not afraid to come out and tell me the truth and speak that truth in love - is a blessing! Those are the friends and team players in life that would not just throw in a towel at the first sign of hardship and disagreement. They will stay even if you do not see eye to eye and will let you know when you are either out of line or are not following through on some things in such a way, that shows they are genuinely there for you. I believe that God puts those people in our lives to help us develop Christ-like character! These are the people that are hard to find...I discovered that I have those people...