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I enjoy fortune cookies. Because of the whimsical fortunes found inside them, they are both a tasty treat and a form of entertainment. I usually don’t put much stock in the fortunes, though. I understand that “good fortune and wealth” most likely are not waiting from me “just around the corner.” However, the other night, after enjoying a meal at a local Chinese restaurant, my waitress dropped a fortune cookie on the table when she brought me my bill. When I cracked it open, I was pleasantly surprised by the small nugget of wisdom I found on the slip of paper tucked inside. It was a thought I feel compelled to share. The slip of paper read, “The truth is more bearable when spoken with compassion.” I wasn’t expecting something so insightful from a novelty cookie. But after reading it a couple more times, I came to realize there was wisdom to be found in that short sentence. So, I pocketed the little piece of paper and brought it home with me. After reflecting on my fortune some more, I got to thinking about our calling to speak the truth. Scripture instructs us to always speak the truth. Ephesians 4:25 states, “So then, putting away all falsehood, let all of us speak to the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another.” This passage reminds us that not only can lies be damaging to those to whom they are spoken, but they are also damaging to the community as a whole – a small fact that we often do not take into consideration. As I have said before, our actions and behaviors, even the words we choice to speak, affect those around us. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is … we don’t always like the truth. We would much rather hear a little white lie that makes us feel good than hear the truth that may shake up our view of ourselves or views of the world. Lies allow us to remain comfortable and give us a false sense of reality that can be detrimental. The truth, on the other hand, offers us the opportunity for growth. When we are handed the truth, we are encouraged to confront reality, which affords us the opportunity to learn new information needed from managing the situation as well as the opportunity to acquire new skills needed to adapt to what’s going on around us. As my fortune from last night points out, the truth should always be spoken with compassion. It is to be a tool used to build others up and help them grow, not as a weapon to attack another person, to prove someone wrong, or to belittle them. When spoken with compassion, sharing the truth with another person becomes an act of love. It gives that person clarity and insight that is beneficial for their personal growth as well as offers insight that helps them make better informed decisions. So, speak the truth. Speak it with compassion. Let the truth set you and others free – free from the lies that bind and restrict, so that we may continue to grow and experience life to the fullest!
Blessings! Pastor John
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