The solution is found in scripture and is very clear. We are instructed to “speak the truth in love” in Ephesians 5:15. (Knowing truth is of utmost importance, because before I can express reality I need to know I’m grounded in it myself. Jesus says, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” so a relationship with Him is the first place to go to begin to understand what reality is.) That is the boundary given to create a safe way to both be real and accept others’ realness. If I speak the truth in arrogance, hate, self-righteousness, carelessness or apathy I am not within the realm of God’s will. In fact, in 1 Corinthians 13, Paul goes as far as to say that without love, my words have as much meaning as an annoying clanging gong. Kind of like when you go to a restaurant that makes all the employee’s come out to sing for a customer’s birthday, but to quiet the joint they bang a gong really loudly. We have a Chinese restaurant we go to that does this. I try to avoid going if at all possible.
God always gets to the heart of the matter doesn’t He? He created us to be real, and have a real relationship with Him. No hiding, no faking- just broken me coming to Him accepting His love and being transformed by it. From that place of transformational, extravagant love we receive, we can then offer a new reality to others. I can choose to be concerned about their well-being, since my deepest needs have already been met. I can choose to be patient and kind in my words and actions, since God has been so patient and kind toward me. I can express truth, even if it’s painful to others, with the lens of love in place. Without that, I may be simply be a lot of white noise at best. At worst, I may be part of the brokenness another human has to live through. The truth may create a wound, but the love comes to heal it. Jesus’ death on the cross tells me I am more sinful than I ever knew. (ouch) But it also tells me I am more loved than I ever dared hope. The truth, in love.