“The trick is to find the balance between truth and grace. Too much truth with no grace leads to hopelessness on the end of the one being Truth Bombed. Too much grace without truth leads people into a false sense of themselves that’s not grounded in the reality of their situation.” Jared Barden
My nephew writes a blog. Today, he posted to that blog an essay on the themes of truth and grace. It’s left me thinking.
I commented on Jared’s blog post, saying that while I consider myself a seeker of the Truth, I also appreciate a generous spirit. I don’t mind others suggesting that I have flaws, so long as they don’t suggest it in the middle of a rant about what a loser I am, or how I’ve let them down again, and again, and again, and again…
You get the picture.
Some people will tell you that sticks and stones may break their bones, but names will never hurt them. Okay, I guess there are some folks out there that are made of stone or Kryptonite, but man, I have never met them. I’ve also never been called a derogatory name, not one time, that it didn’t hurt. I’ve never been cursed out or sworn at, that it didn’t send me reeling, both physically and in my spirit. Words hurt. Unjust criticisms hurt. Unfair exaggerations hurt. Hyperbolic statements about how fat I am hurt. Cold shoulders, the ole’ brush off, unflattering gossip with my name attached to it: It all hurts.
When hurtful comments are spoken inside the body of Christ, and/or are perpetrated by Christians, the results can be devastating for the church and our own souls. Bitterness is a real danger when holding onto hurts too long. Sullenness is a sin, as vile as lying, gossiping and drunkneness–my own truth bomb for today. Children of God are supposed to be known by our love, right? If those inside the church can’t curb their enthusiasm and blood lust for revenge, how in the world can we ever hope to influence the world in this way? I’m talking to myself here, too, friends.
It’s tough, but we must forgive. For their spiritual development to progress, and to maintain our own sanity, we must.
Then there’s truth. GRACE, as in the application of a gracious and forgiving spirit toward others is important, yes, but so is TRUTH. The church will always need more Truth-tellers, especially in this post modern world. Post modern Christianity seems to this girl to be a bit lopsided in favor of grace. I’m not talking about salvation here, I’m talking about unmerited favor–grace, yes–but as it is shown to our fellows by us, not the Lord. His grace is something else, entirely, for the purpose of this post.
What weighs on my mind quite often is the question of whatever happened to contrition, repentance, the making of amends? The teaching that we are loved regardless of our behavior doesn’t test well with my demographic. It is oddly appealing to me, but is that because it is of God, or because it serves my baser instincts–those of self-preservation and aggrandisement? I’m still trying to figure that out.
Jared has been dropping Truth Bombs for the past few weeks on his blog. I love him for that. He is a fellow seeker of the Truth, as it is manifested in its many forms. He is also a gracious individual. He has been hurt by words, accusations, and unflattering gossip of late. I know how he feels, and I’m supporting him through it. I think he has a solid handle on Scripture. I also think he is bright beyond the scope of my intellect. I appreciate that he is willing to invite the wisdom of many counselors into his faith journey. I think that decision reveals his higher than average Jesus IQ. He is much farther ahead in his faith journey than I was at his age.
I hope you’ll read Jared’s post today and leave a generous comment of your own on his page. Truth is important, and without it we destine ourselves to lives lived in self-delusion. Grace is important, and without it, we must forever live in the dark caverns of eternal sin. I think we need both in our world and our lives, but with balance between the two. What do you think?