You have most likely heard of drive-by shootings. As defined by Wikipedia, the objective of a drive-by “is to overwhelm the target by a sudden, massive amount of firepower without attention to accuracy.” The Christian community has their own form of drive-by: The drive-by ‘truthing’. These ‘truthings’ all start with the phrase, “I’m just speaking the truth in love.”
When you hear those words, duck! Run for cover! Gather your loved ones near and pray. The “Truth in love” can be devastating. The words of Jesus, when used like this, can cut deeply and wound the spirit and soul.
Why are these drive-by tactics so dangerous? Because they are random and non-specific. They are devoid of a relationship.
In order to speak the truth in love, one must be in relationship. Going to the same building for church, school, or living in the same town or neighborhood is not a relationship. The first thing that is needed when speaking the truth in love is a relationship.
To speak the truth in love requires more than knowing that I have the truth. (I just got into a short philosophical argument with myself. I’m not sure I understood much of my arguments and I left the conversation scratching my head. All I could think about was Professor Indiana Jones directing his students to Dr. Tyree’s philosophy class if they were looking for truth and not facts.
Back to speaking the truth in love. Difficult and uncomfortable things can be said in relationship that can’t really be said to strangers. In a relationship of trust and acceptance, I can talk candidly about all sorts of things related to sexuality, race, religion, and politics. These conversations have to be rooted in trust and love. Without trust and love, the “truth” often sounds judgmental and condemning.
I have been the victim of these drive-bys. What is worse is that I have carried them out.
Here is what I am hoping to do to curb drive-by “truthings” in my area:
- I will do my best to make sure that I speak the truth in love to people that I truly love and that truly love me.
- I will make sure that I do not speak unless I have some kind of permission to speak into the other person’s life.
- I will not take on an attitude of superiority. I will respect the other person’s intelligence.
- I will automatically trust and believe that their beliefs and opinions are thoughtful sincere.
- I will remember that it is not my job to fix anyone.
- I will treat the other person as I would want to be treated.
What would you add to the list?
Will you join me in stopping the senselessness of these “drive-by truthings”?