Speaking bluntly can hurt

The Pharisees, the legalists of Jesus day, condemned sinners.

Truth without love is brutal. Love without truth is hypocrisy. This is illustrated in Jesus’ encounter with the woman at Jacob’s well. If you read the account of Jesus conversing with this Samaritan woman, you will notice how Jesus tactfully engaged in conversation with this woman. Jesus lovingly confronted her with the truth without infuriating her.

We, in our fallible humanness, can very often be blunt with truth irregardless of how the person we’re addressing reacts. Jesus converted that Samaritan woman by lovingly confronting her with the truth. He did not overlook her sin, which was having adulterous relationships with five men, but he tactfully and with wisdom led up to her sinful affairs by first stating, “Woman, give me a drink.” Then, from there, Jesus began speaking to her of spiritual thirst.

Are you spiritually thirsty? Imbibe deeply of the truth found in God’s word. The wisdom found in the teaching of Jesus is truth. Truth exposes the spiritual darkness of our sins. But truth must be presented in such a way that does not cause anyone to become irate, angry or furious. We can transform the world with truth revealed with love.

I’ve openly and honestly shared with my readers in a previous letter what a very wise mental health counselor said to me: “John, if you want to change people, you must first love them.”

I’ve never forgotten those words.

People all have a profound need to be loved, but they need to hear the truth about themselves. When you confront someone with the truth about themselves, remember: How you say something is just as significant as the words you use. When Jesus stated, “I am the way, the truth and the life,” he spoke the truth with love resounding in his voice, so the multitudes were attracted to him. Jesus was love and truth personified.

So, in conclusion, what lessons can we learn from a Samaritan woman despised by pure Jews and who was accepted by Christ?

1.) Jesus broke down the partition of Samaritan and Jews by tactfully speaking to a despised woman with love and truth.

2.) Our speech gives us away as either wise or foolish – foolish because our speech can annihilate others if not spoken with wisdom.

3.) Speaking bluntly only hurts and infuriates others.

JOHN SIRTOLI

Gloversville