"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."
“Full of grace and truth.” These were the words that John used to describe Jesus to all who would read his gospel account of Christ. John, the one who was called beloved, wanted all to know that the words of Christ rang true and that He was full of such a grace that those who hated a religious system were drawn close to Him. But for us what do these words mean. Are we meant to read them and simply marvel at all that Christ was while he was incarnate? Or, just perhaps, do these words stand as something more?
Before leaving on my venture westward a dear friend of mine, a mine that I hope to one day be more like, sat with me and echoed these words. He told me sternly but lovingly that if I cannot find a balance of both grace and truth that I would not be worthy to be called a minister of the gospel. He told me that people often saw grace and truth as a spectrum on which we would land somewhere therein. But he reminded me that we are not called to be people who pursue a piece of who Christ is but all of Him. We are called to look, act, speak like Him. Something that I all too often fall so very short of.
We are called to be people who speak the truth in love. People who speak the truth with grace. So often in the Christian world we speak truth, often hard truths, and pat ourselves on the back believing that the simple act of speaking truth is loving. I have to wonder if the same mindset would hold true to a man just asked by his pregnant wife if she looked fat in her favorite black dress?
But there is the other side of the spectrum. Those who, in the name of grace, have forgotten words such as ‘repent’, ‘hell’, and ‘sin.’ They believe that if we simply ‘love’ hard enough and long enough then people will come around. These people, to me at least, have forgotten that Christ came and called us to repent before he ever sat with sinners. These people would laugh if someone with cancer was not told of their condition and just ‘accepted’ as they were. But they do that very thing on such a deeper level.
We are called to be such a people that our friends and neighbors who despise our beliefs hear both our words and our love. We should become acquainted with people who are able to hear truth from us because it comes over a shared meal or between sips of a beer.
There was something about Christ that drew people to Himself. There was something about Christ that invited people to taste of the Living Water that He offered instead of just telling people that such a fountain existed.
Oh, that we would become people who didn’t just offer people grace or truth, but would invite the world to come and have both. For I am coming to believe that truth without grace is no truth at all. And grace without an honest word falls short of it’s meaning.
So I invite you to pray with me. I invite you to set out on such a path that maybe, just maybe, the word Christian would no longer be associated with a political party, a country, a building, a negative connotation. And perhaps then the words of Christ will ring true, that the world will know us by our love. And in doing so that will trust us enough to listen to what we have to say.
Father, let us be people who are not know by a desire for truth or grace.
Let us people a people who are seen to have and offer freely both.
Let me set myself aside and learn to be more like Christ.
Let me also be one who is full of both grace and truth.