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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Renée Miller

Tuesday, July 20

If your brother or sister sins against you, go and tell your brother or sister their fault, between you and them alone. If they listen, you have gained your brother or sister.
—Matthew 18:15

Living in relationship is a tricky business. It requires bedrock honesty, and yet honesty is often the very thing we avoid. When someone we care about has hurt us, been thoughtless towards us, ignored us, betrayed us, or otherwise been less than we would have liked them to be, we often find feelings of anger and resentment arising in us. 

We want to lash out at them, make them suffer as they have made us suffer. We want to belittle them or make them see how powerful we still are. And we don't always choose to do this through words. Often we choose silence. We say nothing, but we allow our body, our eyes, our isolation to speak what we are feeling inside. 

We consider being honest and telling them that what they did hurt us, but we don't think that telling them will actually do any good, and if truth be told, we don't think honesty is quite severe enough. If we just tell them how we were hurt by what they did, they aren't really going to suffer or see how we have suffered. So, we prefer to lash out in anger or distance ourselves by ignoring the issue through silence.

What do you think would happen in your relationships and in yourself if you spoke a word of truth when you were angered by an action taken by someone you cared about? What if you communicated quietly and honestly instead of through curses or hurtful words or by making the person pay through your tense silence? 

You might find that your own heart would be kept in a place of peace. You might find that you had created a space where the changes you seek possibly could occur. And, most importantly, neither you nor that someone would be lost and left alone in pain.

O God, you say that the truth will set us free. Let my heart be as clear as a still pond so that my tongue may speak a word of truth without rancor to those who have hurt me.

These Signposts originally appeared on explorefaith in 2003.