This post is written to link with Five Minute Friday: write for five minutes on a one-word prompt. The prompt today is “balance.”
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
(John 1:14 NIV)
Full of grace and truth…
It’s such a tricky balance to achieve. I think most of us have a tendency to drift one way or the other, and there is great danger in that.
We can place so much emphasis on upholding the truth that we forget to listen and to love, or we can focus on grace to the extent that the truth is never spoken or is discounted altogether.
We either give the impression that God is only interested in our good behaviour and correct theology and that we have to reach a certain standard to please him, or we convey the idea that he is all about love so none of that really matters at all.
It’s hard to get the balance – to convey that yes, God is a God of love, but that doesn’t mean we have a licence to do whatever we want.
And yet when we can get the balance right, grace and truth are a powerful combination.
How do we achieve it?
I’m not sure, except to look at Jesus and some of his interactions with people.
He showed Zacchaeus grace in calling him by name, speaking kindly to him and choosing to spend time with him, but he presumably also spoke truth over dinner that challenged him to change.
He showed grace to the woman caught in adultery in defending her against those who wanted to stone her by opening her accusers’ eyes to the truth that none of them were without sin. He also challenged the woman to go and sin no more.
He showed grace to the woman who touched his robe, desperate to be cured of her bleeding.
He spoke truth to the rich man who wanted to gain eternal life but who was unwilling to loosen his grip on his many possessions.
Jesus always got the balance just right, and somehow managed to express both grace and truth perfectly at the same time.
Maybe it’s only as we get to know him more and allow his Spirit to transform us that we can learn from his example and be empowered to do the same.