How do you handle the truth? Have you stopped to think about how you receive it and how you communicate it?

As important and beneficial as truth is to our relationships and society, like anything good, if used in the wrong way, it can be abused.

We all have a responsibility to know when and who to deliver the truth to or whether to deliver it at all. Learn when to speak it and when to keep it.

While it’s important for us to always tell the truth (be honest); it’s not always important to share the truth (spread it).

You see, truth needs to be delivered to the right people at the right time for the right purpose.

Truth shared with the wrong people at the wrong time or for the wrong purpose is often hugely damaging, and worse still, cheap gossip.

A sure sign that someone can’t handle the truth, is if they share what is said in confidence. Sharing truth with the wrong people is indicative of ambitious drive, a need for power or an unhealthy fascination with the tantalising.

Another sign someone can’t handle the truth is if they excuse hurtful or demeaning remarks with a flippant, “well, it’s the truth!”

In a world where we can communicate so much to so many so easily, we need to be careful that even when speaking truth, we exercise wisdom, integrity and love.

You want the truth? How do you handle it?

As in all things difficult to navigate, the Bible gives us some clear guidance.

In Matthew 5:21-26, Jesus encourages us that if we have an issue with a friend, we should go and make it right with that person.  He explains that words are powerful and have consequences.

I have found a good principle of thumb is that truth should be shared with the people immediately affected and someone who can do something about it: go upwards, not sidewards.

If someone offers to tell me something in confidence, I will often say, “You can tell me but depending on what you are about to say will determine who I will share the information with.”   More often than not, I redirect their truth-telling to the appropriate person or authority.

Proverbs 3:3 says, “Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart…”

We see here another principle found in the Bible is that if you need to share truth with people, make sure the motive is not power or ambition but mercy and love. In love, we need to learn to deliver truth with grace or mercy.

And finally, Ecclesiastes 3:7 says, there is “…a right time to shut up and another to speak up…”

Many times the best thing you can do with truth is keep it to yourself.  Sometimes the truth needs to stop at me because to go any further is to continue the gossip train. Some truth is just none of my business.

My encouragement to you today is to be a safe place when it comes to truth. Be someone who CAN handle the truth!