Speak the Truth with Love

Claude Houde

As parents, let us remember that it is first and foremost in our home that our children will receive the most meaningful teachings of their lives by seeing us live, manage and resolve our conflicts and also by observing the way we act with each other.

One of the great issues in our pursuit of unity within our families is our ability to handle conflict. Too often, families find themselves at one of two extremes.

  • • Those who flee all forms of conflict and perpetually live in the unspoken, mistakenly believing that approaching a problem shows a lack of love.

  • • Those who get bogged down in forceful conflict with blame and hurtful words, systematically amplifying even lesser problems without respite or the prospect of hope and resolution.

The apostle Paul is very direct in dealing with this complex and sometimes tense subject of conflict management. We must no longer be children, but we must learn to speak the truth with love in order to grow. So the question the Spirit asks you is this: “Have I grown? Have I progressed in my ability to be calm and to resolve conflicts since I began walking with God? Have I made progress in my capacity to forgive?”

If the question of how you handle conflict were asked of your spouse and children, what would they say about you? "Daddy has a hot temper… Mom often criticizes others..."

Or would they say, “My husband, my wife, my father, my mother are not perfect, but I have seen them make progress through the years. They do not return evil for evil; they find and bring about peace. The sun does not set on their anger. They don't allow grudges to take root in themselves”?

We must no longer be immature children. We must no longer lie to get out of having to deal with problems. We must learn to grow in every aspect of our lives. As scripture says, “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Ephesians 4:14-15).

Dear believers, let us love our families and one another by learning how to graciously and lovingly speak the truth.

Claude Houde is the lead pastor of Eglise Nouvelle Vie (New Life Church) in Montreal, Canada. Under his leadership New Life Church has grown from a handful of people to more than 3500 in a part of Canada with few successful Protestant churches.

Trusting the God Who Delivers

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Paul was often harassed by demonic powers. In one particular case, he was preaching on the isle of Paphos when demons attempted to interfere: “Now when they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus, who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. This man called for Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But…the sorcerer…withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith” (Acts 13:6-8, NKJV).

This was the devil standing up against Paul, but the Holy Ghost welled up inside of the apostle. “Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, ‘O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time.’

“And immediately a dark mist fell on him [Bar-Jesus], and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand. Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had been done, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord” (Acts 13:9-12).

It is not enough to be grieved by the attempts of Satan to harass you. When you take authority and command devils to flee, Satan will come at you with everything in his arsenal.

Another case of this in Paul’s life was after he had cast the demons out of the possessed girl in Acts 16:16–18. Satan enflamed the crowd against Paul and Silas, and suddenly they were in a terrible crisis. The city magistrates had them whipped and cast into prison. If we are to walk in the Spirit, we must believe God for supernatural deliverance from every bondage of Satan. That is exactly what Paul did, and God answered. “Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed” (Acts 16:26).

Satan will try to bring upon you the most dreadful temptation or trial you have ever faced. He wants you to get bogged down in guilt, condemnation or self-examination. Dear saint, you have to arise in the full power of the Spirit. Trust God, and he will take care of your deliverance.

Finding Victory and Peace

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Paul wrote to the early church, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16, NKJV). This command to walk in the Spirit is given to all, not just a few super-saints. Here are three steps for how you can obtain this walk.

1. You must go after this walk with everything in you. If you are saved, the Holy Spirit has already been given to you. Now ask him to take over and surrender to him. Ask him to be your guide and friend. As the gospels command, “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9).

You have to determine in your heart that you want him to lead you. Moses, speaking of the latter days, said about God, “You will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29).

2. Focus on hearing the Spirit, and get your eyes off your trouble and temptation. Paul and Silas would have wallowed in fear and depression if they had focused on their troubles. Instead, they focused on God, praising and worshiping him. Most of the time when we go to prayer, we focus on past failures. We replay our defeats time after time, saying, “Oh, how far up the road I could be if I hadn’t failed God and messed up in my past.”

Forget everything in your past! It’s all under the blood. Don’t fret about the future either because only the Lord knows what’s ahead.

3. Give a good deal of quality time to communion with the Holy Spirit. He will not speak to anyone who is in a hurry. Wait patiently. Seek the Lord and minister praises to him. Take authority over every other voice that whispers thoughts to you. Believe that the Spirit is greater than these and that he will not let you be deceived or blinded. As scripture boldly states, “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

Focus on the Holy Spirit with your whole mind and heart, and you will find victory over sin and otherworldly peace.

As a Mother Loves Her Child

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

The Father loves you; it is at this point that multitudes of believers fail God. They are willing to be convicted of sin and failure over and over again, but they will not allow the Holy Ghost to flood them with the love of the Father.

The legalist loves to live under conviction. He has never understood the love of God or allowed the Holy Spirit to minister that love to his soul.

Isaiah was writing to a stubborn people of God whom he says “went on backsliding in the way of his heart” (Isaiah 57:17). Despite this, Isaiah described God, saying, “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem” (Isaiah 66:13, NKJV).

The prophet Isaiah took one of the highest images possible among men, that of a mother’s love for her child, and shows us something of the love that our Father has for us. One mother in our church takes a whole day to visit her son in an upstate prison. She gets on a bus and rides for hours just to see him for a short while. Such a mother will look across at her son in that drab uniform and see the agony in his eyes, and each trip she will die a little more inside, but she never quits on him. He is still her son.

I have taught that the righteous person, the true lover of Jesus, loves reproof. He learns to welcome having the Holy Spirit expose his hidden areas of sin and unbelief because the more he deals with sin, the happier and freer he becomes. However, the attitude I see in many Christians is “Keep on judging me, Lord. Convict me, rebuke me!” This is not the same thing as true conviction.

For example, I see this in many responses to my newsletter messages. When I write a message that thunders with judgment, I get overwhelmingly approving responses. When I share about the sweetness and love of Jesus, I receive letters saying, “You’re not preaching the truth anymore.” It is as though these people are saying, “If you’re not reproving, what you’re saying can’t be the gospel.” Such believers have never entered into the great love-mission of the Holy Spirit.

This is an area where you must learn to walk in the Spirit and not by feelings.

The Joyful Cry of Our Hearts

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

The Holy Ghost is the one who teaches us to say, “Abba Father.”

This phrase refers to a Middle Eastern custom from Bible days regarding the adoption of a child. Until the adopting papers were signed and sealed by the adopting father, the child saw this man only as ‘a father.’ He had no right to call him abba, meaning “my.”

As soon as the papers were signed, registered and sealed, the child’s tutor presented him to the adopting father; and for the first time, the child could say, “Abba Father!” As the father embraced him, the young one cried, “My father! He’s not just ‘a father’ anymore. He’s mine.”

This is the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit. He tutors you in the ways of Christ’s heart. He presents you to the Father. He keeps reminding you, “I have sealed the papers. You are no longer an orphan; you are legally a son of God.” Our cry should be one of exceeding joy and thanksgiving. Not only are we not forsaken, but the Holy Spirit is there with us during moments of confusion and suffering. 

The Holy Spirit’s mission is to comfort Christ’s bride in the absence of the bridegroom. “I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Helper, that he may abide with you forever” (John 14:16, NKJV).

The title he gives the Spirit could also be translated as “Comforter,” one who eases pain and sorrow, brings relief, consoles and encourages. I particularly like this definition from the Greek: “One who lays you down on a warm bed of safety.” By calling the Holy Spirit the Helper and Comforter, Jesus made an infallible prediction that his people would suffer and need comfort.

The Holy Spirit brings comfort by reminding you that he lives in you with all the power of God inherent in his being. God sent the Spirit to use all his power to keep you out of the clutches of Satan, to lift your spirit, drive away all depression and flood your soul with the love of your Lord. As Paul wrote, “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5).

These promises should give us even greater joy as we cry out, “Abba Father!”