Those who love us do what is best for us, saying hard words and calling us out.
And yet, these loving words travel best when escorted by grace and kindness.
Loving someone means I confront, call out, and name what I see in their life. To stand by and let things go without a word is not love but something else. So, if I am to love someone, I must speak the hard words.
And yet, these hard but loving words cannot be heard if said without grace and kindness. Many are the words unreceived or misunderstood because of the harsh and graceless manner in which they are spoken. Love misses its mark, is not received, simply because its words lack grace and kindness.
For words of instruction, correction, or truth spoken to our children, spouses, or friends in love and concern to actually land in their hearing, we must be aware that the route to their ear goes through their heart. Grace and kindness are escorts that walk alongside our words to ensure that they are actually received as true gifts of love.