“So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage your hearts.”
As we saw last week, giving and receiving encouragement is essential to fellowship in the Body of Christ, and it is essential to spiritual growth for every Christian.
Sometimes Christians view encouragement as “soft.” Certainly the Lord calls us to come alongside others with gentleness and empathy, but he also calls us to challenge each other and hold each other accountable. To have necessary but difficult conversations, even painful conversations. To say things that need to be said and address things that need to be addressed.
Ultimately, speaking truth into the hearts of others is an act of love. Ephesians 4.15 tells us to “speak the truth in love” so that we can “grow up in every way into Christ.” Love is our motive; it is why we speak the truth. Love is also our method; it is how we speak the truth. The implication of this verse is that if we fail to speak the truth, then growth and development are hindered.
I believe that among Christians today there are things that need to be said that are not being said. Many Christians are afraid to speak truth to each other. They avoid the productive discomfort that is part of having difficult but necessary conversations. As a result, spiritual growth is stunted.
The avoidance of candid conversation among Christians is a fear-based failure to come alongside others. We need to follow the example of Paul and Tychicus and exercise faith-driven parakaleo and be agents of truth and love to one another. Real growth requires real relationships, and that happens as a result of connection and trust built over time.
I encourage you to identify those people—or that person—in your life with whom you can have real conversation. Find those people and engage. Listen. Build trust. Go deep. Be real. Speak truth. Allow that person to parakaleo and come alongside your heart to speak truth into your life, and then do the same in return.
Real growth will follow.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” (2 Corinthians 13.11)