Life-Giver Rule #10: You Can Handle the Truth, 4 Steps

Cover of "A Few Good Men (Special Edition...
Cover of A Few Good Men (Special Edition)

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  I Corinthians 13:6

If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.~Mark Twain

You can’t handle the truth!~Colonel Nathan R. Jessep (Fiction Character played by Jack Nicholson)

“You can’t handle the truth,” has become a part of our popular culture thanks to the incredible performance by Jack Nicholson as the unflappable Colonel Jessep.  Under pressure from a strong cross-examination, the prosecutor played by Tom Cruise yells, he wants to know the truth and Jessep answers with the above quote.  Now sometimes as we talk about truth you may hear someone say you can’t handle the truth.  Truth for the life-giver is a constant conviction.  They keep truth positive, and don’t tear down someone when they share it.  They are constructive and tactful when they share it.  A tactful positive approach is always the number one way to share truth with people.

When Christ is in you, you can handle the truth very well.  You can hear it well and you can give it well.  We can do some practical things when we share truth.  People who have the gift of prophesy have a difficult time when it comes to tact.  The first thing we do as we share truth is be truthful and loving to the person you are sharing it with.  Be honest, and encourage them in who they are in your eyes.  Don’t give them negative things, give them positive building up words that can make them feel good.  Setting the tone can give you a responsive attitude from the person you are sharing truth.

The next step is not to procrastinate and continue the above step too long.  If you keep encouraging them too long, it becomes flattery.  Obvious sugar coating is not going to get you the desired tone, which is a calm response.  The point is to get to the point.

The next step is to get to the truth and share it.  This is difficult sometimes when we fear our relationship with the person may be hurt.  Sometimes it can be damaged, but they will thank you eventually.  If you do step 1 and 2 correctly they should have the right and open attitude to receive the truth even though it may hurt.  The biggest important thing you want do is show them the love you have for them in the first two steps.

The last step is to be patient with them and give them space if they need it.  Sometimes people will be upset with the revelation you give them, and will need time to process it.  The anger and hurt they are feeling is not at you, but the circumstances they find themselves in.  Give them time and space if they need it to process it and then restore the relationship.  Probably one of the most cowardly and damaging things you can do is what’s called an intervention.  That’s when you bring a group of people together to tell one person what the truth is.  It’s ganging up on someone and also shows no trust because you have gone behind that persons back to talk about them to the other people.

We can handle the truth better if it’s presented to us in first love, second getting to the point, third sharing the truth, and forth giving space.  The life-giver uses truth to build relationships, not tear them down.  Colonel Jessep is correct in his assessment of the world not being able to handle the truth.  The truth is we in Christ can handle the truth, because it’s one of the major convictions of a life-giver.

© [David Howard], [David’s Body Temple], 2011-2015.


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