July 28, 2021 • Life for Leaders
Scripture – Ephesians 4:25 (NRSV)
So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another.
There are many good reasons to tell the truth. We do so in obedience to Scripture or to our parents. We are truthful because truth builds trust and we want to have healthy, flourishing relationships. Ephesians 4:25 offers another reason for truthfulness: we are members of one another. Through our connection to Jesus Christ we are connected to each other. The more we experience our togetherness through Christ, the more we love and care for each other, the more we will be encouraged to speak truthfully.
There are lots of excellent reasons to speak the truth. For starters, I might tell the truth because my parents told me to do so hundreds of times. My truthfulness would honor the memory of my folks. Or, I could say that the Ten Commandments tell us not to lie (Exodus 20:16). Then, we have Ephesians 4:25. This verse says we should “speak the truth.” Simple obedience to God’s Word commends truthfulness.
A case for truth speaking might also point to the results of honesty versus the implications of lying. Truthfulness builds trust. Lying fosters suspicion. Honest people are often praised (though with some exceptions). Dishonest people are denounced (some of the time, at least). So, if you want to live a good life, you’d do well to be known as someone who tells the truth.
Ephesians 4:25 offers an unexpected reason for truth speaking. This verse does not say “Speak the truth because it is right” or “because God commands it” or even “because this leads to a better life.” Rather, the rationale for truthfulness in this verse is: “for we are all members of one another.” What calls forth honesty is the fact that we are connected to each other in Christ. We should speak the truth because we belong to each other. The foundation for truthfulness among Christians is the reality of our unity in Christ, a unity forged by God through the cross and by the Spirit.
This rationale for truthfulness—at first surprising—actually makes perfect sense. The more I feel connected to you, the harder it will be for me to lie to you. The more I share life with you, the more I am encouraged to be open with you. The more I experience our unity as members together of Christ’s body, the more I will be committed to speaking the truth that is in Jesus so that you might grow in your faith and so that we might grow up together in the body of Christ.
When you struggle with speaking the truth or not, what helps you choose truthfulness?
Are you connected to other Christians in a way that encourages you to speak and live the truth?
As you go about your day, pay attention to any times you are tempted to be less than truthful. Make a mental note, or even a physical note, of what motivated you to speak other than the truth. Later, ask the Lord to show you what you need to learn from this experience (or these experiences).
Gracious God, thank you for joining your people together in one body. Thank you for connecting me to this body, for allowing me to share life with the other members of your body. Help me, Lord, to live out this reality in all that I do. May the fact of my connection to other believers motivate me to speak the truth. And may my truth speaking contribute to the health and growth of your body. Amen.
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Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Commentary on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Honesty and Speaking the Truth in Love (2 John 1-11)
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.