"Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ."
A true teammate is one who is honest with those around him. You may think this would be no problem. Super easy. Yet, this is so tough to do! Let’s use an example to try and see what I mean by being honest…
Suppose you have a teammate who keeps doing something that doesn’t line up with how the team should normally operate. Maybe he is picking on others in the dressing room. Maybe he keeps on doing what he wants on the ice regardless of the team system. Maybe he is spreading false rumors behind the team’s back. Whatever it is, he is doing something that isn’t good for the team or himself.
Would it be more loving or less loving to tell this teammate the truth about his actions and their effect on the team? My vote is that it would be less loving if you aren’t HONEST with your teammate. If you think to yourself, “I’m not even going to bother with him...it’s useless,” in a way you are showing that you really don’t care about this person. You are more content to let them continue in ways that are destructive for both them and the team. Further, you may be afraid to confront real issues with your teammates because you don’t want to lose friends or make things awkward. Whether it’s out of apathy, fear, or something else, our natural tendency is to be less than honest. It may be difficult, but honesty demonstrates a heart that sees friends as worth fighting for. The wounds of a friend are faithful as the Proverb states above.
Of course, if you practice this principle of honesty apart from principles such as gentleness, love, and encouragement, it might not be the best way to go about it.
Ephesians 4:15 is a good reminder for us as we close for today, I think this is a good goal for all of us this year! Speak the truth to your team, but do it with love.