Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Speaking Grace and Truth

I've had a few recent conversations about that balance between grace and truth in posture and language, i.e. how can you communicate difficult truth to people while also communicating love?

When people default to communicating only truth, they end up sounding like insensitive jerks. They can also use the excuse "I'm just being honest here" to be judgmental, accusatory, or divisive. Sometimes the "truth" isn't actually truth, but only an opinion expressed with far too much passion.

When people default to communicating only grace, they end up sounding nice. They're polite and understanding, but this often lets people remain in their sinful habits or allows for stronger--and usually unhealthy--voices to have influence. "Being nice" means avoiding conflict and hard conversations, which is usually motivated more by fear than love.

I was reading John 1 this morning, and verse 14 always strikes a chord with me:
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Jesus speaks words of compassion to a sinful Samaritan woman at Jacob's well, but he also openly points out her sin. It transforms her life (and the life of the people in the nearby town).

Jesus exhorts Peter to "feed His sheep" three times, recognizing Peter's weakness in his denial while also offering words of grace and speaking vision into Peter's life. Peter is hurt, but goes on to change the world through his own words and passion for the Gospel.

I don't want to be nice. Jesus wasn't nice. I also don't want to be an insensitive jerk. Jesus wasn't that either. I want words of grace and truth to season my conversations; I want to be both honest and compassionate, authentic and caring, bold yet humble.

No comments:

Post a Comment