“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us… the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (from John 1:14)
Our Pastor is fond of saying that for each mile of road, there are two miles of ditch. What he means by this, is that it is fairly easy for any of us to lose a balance to life, and find ourselves in one extreme, or another. To really arrive at where God is taking us in life, we need to pay attention to where we are going – and maintain a balance to our lives.
Not surprisingly, Jesus was an expert at this. He was completely committed to the truth – but He never used the truth as a weapon, or as a means of punishment. He always told the truth, and He always told it in love.
Once again, we draw upon the picture of Jesus’ encounter with the woman caught in adultery. Jesus approached her situation with immense grace – refusing to condemn her, though He could lawfully do so. According to the Law, He would have been right to do so. But instead, His focus was upon the person behind the sin.
He could have displayed stern justice, but chose to display abundant grace.
And after all of her accusers had slipped away, then, Jesus spoke the truth to her: “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (from John 8:11) Jesus did not ignore or diminish her sinfulness — He spoke the truth into her life.
Grace. And Truth. In balance. Revealing, for all to see, the true heart of God!
Jesus exhibited the perfect balance of grace… and truth.
Both are essential. Too much of an emphasis upon grace and we run the danger of neglecting the importance of good moral choices. “Too much grace” refuses to confront the real, and hurtful, issues of people’s lives. And true loves always does, and says, what is in the best interests of the object of that love. Even if it hurts.
But too much of an emphasis upon truth drives people away. Truth can be cold and hard and indifferent. Truth is black and white in a very gray world. Though it is absolutely necessary, truth can come off as heartless, judgmental, and condemning.
Truth needs the wonderful cushion of loving grace. And grace needs the steel backbone of truth. Without each other, both cannot fulfill their proper purpose – which is to lovingly help us (and those around us) in our life’s journey.
Without the balance of grace and truth, we can spend way too much time driving in ditches. As we have seen in Jesus, it is God’s certain intention that we become a people who are constantly, and consistently, “speaking the truth in love.” (Ephesians 4:15)
We need both truth and grace. Truth is the substance of what really matters. Grace is the compassionate heart that renders the truth effective in our lives.
Prayer focus: God, help me to find the perfect balance of grace and truth in my own life – just as I see in Jesus.