2 Samuel 19:7-8
7 Now go out and encourage your men. I swear by the Lord that if you don’t go out, not a man will be left with you by nightfall. This will be worse for you than all the calamities that have come on you from your youth till now.”
8 So the king got up and took his seat in the gateway. When the men were told, “The king is sitting in the gateway,” they all came before him.
It seems like such a harsh thing to say! These are the words of David’s commander Joab. Joab had been ordered by David to kill Uriah in battle. Joab had fought faithfully for David when he was on the run from his son Absalom and finally was able to kill Absalom and save David’s life. The army was victorious yet here their king was weeping. As the armies watched their king weep and mourn, the sounds of victory and celebration changed to mourning that matched the king. That is until Joab stepped in. He came to the king and spoke truth to him.
Throughout my life I have had many opportunities to speak truth into some else’s life. It’s seldom an easy task or a fun one because most of the time speaking the truth means telling someone something they don’t want to hear. Joab stepped in to tell David that he was losing control of his army because of his behavior. He warns David that if he doesn’t pull it together everything is only going to get worse.
Have you ever been in the shoes of Joab where you had to speak the truth in love? It’s a challenging position because you really don’t know how the other person is going to receive it. But it’s necessary if that other person is going to grow. If you avoid speaking the truth, you are only enabling a behavior that likely needs to stop or change. Joab knew that if David did not pull it together the armies would turn against him. Rather than enabling the king to spiral downward, Joab steps in and speaks hard words to a broken man with the purpose of sparing him even more turmoil and trouble.
Perhaps there is a person and a conversation that you have been avoiding because you know it will be hard to speak the truth and perhaps even be hurtful. But remember, when we speak the truth in love to people, it ultimately helps them develop and grow. Consider if God is calling you at this time to be the voice of both love and truth into someone’s life.