Saying the Last 10%

Monday I wrote about our culture of who’s in and who’s out.  About how often, subtly, we “disqualify” people for church.

Jesus says we’re all broken, but through Him we’re all “in”.  A messy community of sinners redeemed and being continually picked up, dusted off, and set on our wobbly feet to take a few steps forward before we tumble again.

Here’s the tough part about this.  In an effort to be inclusive, we’re often afraid to say the last 10%.  The hard truth that everyone’s included, but everyone is also in process and in need of forgiveness and redemption.

Somehow, in our culture, inclusion has become synonymous with approval.  Not only do you need to welcome me, it’s taboo for you to point out anything that would indicate that perhaps not everything I do is in line with God’s Word and will for me.

How is it that we can follow Jesus in this?  How can we love, welcome, and accept, but also be honest in saying “We’re on this journey together and none of us have arrived.  Let’s help each other out as we try to move towards holiness.”


Maybe this means speaking when:

  • A friend is dating a guy who’s cute and fun, but isn’t a person of faith or godly character and is causing her to compromise her beliefs to please him.
  • A co-worker who works hard, but also has a blind spot to their bad attitude and divisiveness in the office.
  • A ministry volunteer is committed, but clearly in a spot not in line with his gifts, inhibiting the forward movement of the ministry, who needs to be moved.
  • A family member is going through a hard time and needs comfort, but has gotten into a pattern of drinking too much.

Holy buckets!  This last 10% is hard for me!  For those saying it, it can tap into our inclination to be self-righteous, and judgmental…the exact qualities we want to do away with. Or we can be so afraid of offending that we neglect a role God has for us to strengthen the Body.  

So what might be some guidelines to saying the last 10%?

1.  Saying the last 10% doesn’t mean giving your opinion on everything. Ephesians 4:15 says “God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love – like Christ in everything.  We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do…” (MSG)

2.  Saying the last 10% may be your job, or it might be someone else’s.  Ask God and listen.  Be aware if you’re inclination is to speak too quickly in passion, or if it is to abdicate the role that God might have for you to speak hard truth.

2.  Saying the last 10% requires humility and a searching of your own heart first.  Ruthlessly ask, “Why do I feel it’s important to say this?  What are my motives?”

3.  Saying the last 10% requires a foundation of love, respect, and trust in the relationship.  Make sure the person knows you’re “for them”.

What’s your experience been with speaking the truth in love?

6 thoughts on “Saying the Last 10%

  1. This one is really hard as I need to continue to use a filter or think before I speak when passions move me to get involved. So far, I have learned to speak truth from my heart and trust God with the rest.


  2. To quote you, “Holy Buckets!” I think this might be your best post ever. Just think how the church and the world would change if everyone took this to heart and acted on it! So convicting and difficult but doable with God’s help. I know I’m definitely in the camp of not wanting to offend. Those guidelines are a gold mine, not only for speaking the truth in love but for hearing it as well!


    • Thanks for your kind words Gayle! And yes, hearing as well as speaking is so hard. I raised some hard questions with a young leader yesterday, trying to do it gently and make sure he knew I was “for him”, but I knew what I was saying was tough for him to hear. I was so impressed by the non-defensive and gracious way he received it and I told him so! I only hope I receive hard truth as well!


  3. The last two guidelines are so necessary for me: ruthlessly asking what are my motives and only speaking to someone who I have built a trusting relationship with. If only I followed those two faithfully. Thanks for the good posts.


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