Do we see ourselves as being men primarily committed to telling the truth, or men primarily committed to building relationships? Often it feels like the two are mutually exclusive: telling to whole truth might permanently harm a friendship.

In Ephesians 4:15 we are urged to speak the truth in love. Apparently it IS possible.

Experience tells me that people tend toward one of these principles more than another. We either lean toward telling the truth at all costs, the burning wreckage of wounded friendships in the rear-view mirror of our lives, or we lean toward keeping the peace at all costs, while realizing we left a key piece of truth unspoken.

A consistent pattern of shading the truth is motivated by fear; a consistent pattern of harshly speaking the truth is motivated by anger.

I believe it’s to our benefit to take some time to identify where we are on this scale. Which way do we naturally lean? I lean toward valuing relationships. As a result I need to be aware that I can avoid telling the whole truth. I need to make an extra effort to, as Bill Hybels says, “tell the last 10%.” Often that’s the crucial element of truth that needs to be revealed.

Jesus was a master of speaking the truth in love. His conversation with the woman at the well in John 4 is one of the shining examples of how well he loved others, while unflinchingly telling them everything they really needed to know in order to be transformed.

How about you? Which way do you lean? Which principle do you need to put extra attention to in order to honor others and your own integrity: Truth or Love?