Usually we speak the truth in criticism, judgment, sarcasm, pride, or anger. We are all skilled in these areas. But to speak the truth in love is a real test of spiritual maturity for when a man can control his tongue he has a hold on all of the fruits of the Spirit -- love, peace, gentleness, meekness, self-control.
If we are growing as Christians we should be more and more in control of our tongue. Cutting words, critical words, judgmental words, words of ridicule have no place in a dialogue of love. Words which are spoken to be shared are pure, gentle, peaceable, reasonable, full of mercy, without pretense, unwavering.
How do we speak the truth in love? In essence, we simply say what we have to say -- simple words that exert no pressure on the other person to respond. Words that we send forth to the ears of others with ulterior motives are not words spoken in love. They are loaded words, usually spoken in bitterness, pride, self-defense, or judgment. Even if the loaded words contain the truth, they have lost their ability to help, heal, or communicate because of the emotional weight they place on the hearer.
More specifically, then, how do we share our feelings with others? How does a wife tell her husband that her feelings are hurt, how does a friend tell a friend that their actions produce anger? By simply stating the emotion! Voice feelings, not accusations. Say, "I am hurt. I feel anger." Put no pressure on the other person to respond. And sharing is never, "let me tell you how you are to blame."
If we are maturing Christians, then we should be growing in our ability to speak the truth in love. Our words are becoming pure words of honest expression, free of ulterior motives and hidden meanings. And if we continue we will soon discover that the truth spoken in love will not only encourage and help those we love but will be healing to our own souls.