*“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14, *NAS
*“But we are meant to speak the truth in love, and to grow up in every way into Christ, the head.” Ephesians 4:15, Phil. *
As I have been sharing on the qualities of grace this week, I have been asked the same question. The essence of it is something like this. "If I am extending grace, do I still tell the one I am gracing the truth?" The answer is a resounding, "yes!" Grace does not limit the truth, it supports it. We can be truthful, even to the point of hurting another's feelings while extending grace.
The concept of grace is about removing barriers and it takes truth to do that. One of my favorite verses about Jesus is John 1:14. It says, "He lived (lives) among us with grace and truth."
When Jesus gives us grace, He does so by brining us to truth. When we are wrong, sinning, or going in a direction that is hurtful to ourselves or others, He corrects us. His grace and truth are bound together. His ministry recorded in the Gospels reveals that Jesus confronted people continually "with grace." Peter, the Pharisees, the Rich Ruler, and so many others illustrate this. Think of the woman caught in adultery. Jesus said, “I don’t condemn you either. Go! From now on don’t sin.”” John 8:11, GWV. He doesn't avoid the truth. He speaks it without condemnation.
Extending truth in grace without condemnation is our gift to one another. It allows us to actually come together and grow together. Our withholding of truth to each other will keep our relationships shallow at best.
So how does one bring grace and truth together without it getting so messy? Here are three things:
1) We check our heart first. Why is the Lord putting you in a place to extend His grace? Grace giving is remembering that "we love because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19. We are passing on the incredible grace He has given us. This means that we are fully forgiven and now fully forgive.
2) We ask ourselves wether we are withholding truth because I am afraid that it will hurt them or that it will hurt me? Usually it is our comfort level that we are concerned about, not theirs. Grace usually goes beyond our comfort level. Am I willing to let the Lord to work in this?
3) Approach is everything. People knew that Jesus wanted their best. The old adage, "people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care" comes into play. Jesus did not have a selfish motive for speaking the truth. He was speaking it for their good, not His own. When we approach truth with grace this way, it is irresistible.
Is there someone you need to speak the truth in grace with. Tell them something has been on your heart that you would like to discuss and set up a time to do it.