He was afraid to tell Eli the vision. (1 Sam. 3:15)

HOW HARD IS IT to tell someone the truth when you know the truth will hurt?

That’s what young Samuel faced. Then to complicate matters further, this painful message had to pass from a younger man to an older man. More stress. What does the young whippersnapper know compared to the older, wiser, more experienced person?

We know examples in history when misfortune befell those who brought bad news. Sometimes a person in authority would order the unfortunate messenger killed. Hence, the phrase in our day: “Don’t shoot the messenger!”

Although it is difficult to be the bearer of bad tidings, the apostle Paul talked about “speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). Even when something negative has to be said, it’s better to hear the news from someone who loves you than to hear it from someone who seems to take delight in your weakness or your faults. Have you ever had someone point out a fault while appearing to enjoy making you feel uncomfortable? On the other hand, it softens the blow when the person who speaks a word of correction has your best interest at heart.

When you have an opportunity to bring bad news or share negative information, be sure you do so with a heart of compassion, “speaking the truth in love.”

Always pray first before you speak a word of criticism, even in correction.

Ron McClung lives in Fishers, Indiana, with his wife Carol. He has written his weekly column, Positive Perspective, for more than twenty-nine years.

© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.