Well, But It’s True!

June 23, 2011 by cloften  
Filed under Family and Parenting

The title of this post is one of my least favorite expressions that gets uttered at the Loften home. (Is “utter” an upgrade over the more common and accurate word “said?”  You bet it is!  Why?  I don’t know.)  Here is the context:  someone says something ugly to someone else.  Dad confronts the ugly-talker.  The response, “Well, but it’s true.”

99 times out of 100 (yes it probably has happened that often.  Not really…maybe…we’ll say 24 out of 25) the rebuke-worthy statement is true.  “Just because something is true, doesn’t mean it should be said,”  says the dad channelling TV sitcom dads.  Depending on the person you are saying this to, dad can get a look that suggests that their brain has just shut down (in the same way it would freeze your calculator when you would divide by zero.  Nothing to do but hit the AC button.  The C button simply can’t fix this problem.).

“Truth-tellers” is my name for these people.  Some like to call them people with the spiritual gift of prophecy or exhortation.

Question: When did not having any tact become a spiritual gift?

Let’s chase that rabbit.  Prophets did speak unpleasant truths.  However, it was at God’s direction, not at their own discretion.  Exhortation is encouraging someone to take right action.  If your words crush someone’s soul and demoralize them, then you have done something, but you have not exhorted anyone.  Let’s call it the gift of “getting something off your chest but framing it in a spiritual context, so if it has a bad result we can blame God or our nature.”

(Rabbit on the ropes now)  You can identify a spiritual gift not by whether or not the person “does it” or even “enjoys it.”  It is identified by whether or not the proper response or effect happens (Nerd).  You can be a teacher and enjoy teaching.  However, you can only have the gift if there is, in fact, learning going on.  There are lots of people out there claiming to be gifted teachers, but no one seems to have the corresponding gift of listening to them.  There are also lots of “leaders” hanging out by themselves.  There are also a lot of exhorters walking through a pile of bodies they have kicked to the curb.

(Good-bye rabbit)

The question is does everything that you think that is true need to be said? If so, does context matter?  When will I say it? Will it be publicly, semi-privately or privately?  What tone will I use?

Even bigger, why would I say it?


“It needs to be said”

“I need to get it off my chest.”

“Somebody needs to take them down a notch.”

“It’ll make me feel better.”

“What do you mean reason? It’s true”


“Because I believe saying it, in this way, at this time, in this place has a great chance of helping the person become better, and because I love them.”

There are a lot of pastors out there that don’t have a filter beyond, “is it true?” and there are plenty of (well-meaning?) friends and family member that lack that filter as well.

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

There are things that are true that aren’t pure or lovely or admirable.  Let’s dwell and think and say those things that are all of these.


One Response to “Well, But It’s True!”
  1. Peter Freund says:

    Nice. “Truth without compassion is hostility.”

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