John 1:14 is a powerful verse revealing what the life of Jesus looks like, “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.” This verse discloses that the life of Jesus was full of grace and truth. This has been tough for me to understand practically and to flesh out. It seems like there is tension between these two words. In fact, I believe each of us favors one over the other. One of us may say, “Personally, I am a truth person. Don’t ask me if you don’t want to know! Discussions get nowhere if you don’t tell the truth.” While other us would say, “For me, I feel more comfortable showing grace, serving others even if it’s undeserved. The Bible says for us to restore others gently. I feel comfortable in this space showing the love of Jesus.”
I have seen Francis Chan illustrate the tension between grace and truth through the use of a rubber band. After stretching the rubber band between two index fingers, Mr. Chan stated that the effective Christian life will reside in the very center tension point of the stretch.
My wife and I have done marriage mentoring for seventeen years. Being a recovering people pleaser, I often errored on the grace side not wanting to cause tension. I was usually thought of by the mentee couple as the nonconfrontational schmoozer. My approach was a “pull approach.” Periodically, the couple would ask specifically for Pam (my wife) to answer their question not me because, “she will flat out to tell us the truth whether it feels good or not!” Ouch, that didn’t feel good to me. Yet, they told the truth. I lived my Christian life near the grace index finger in the stretch of the rubber band illustration. Pam lived her life near the truth index finger using the “push approach.”
I came to realize that God wants us to be full of grace and truth…not one to the detriment of the other. I was a “peacekeeper” and not a “peacemaker.” God wants us to be peacemakers residing in the middle of the tension recognizing that truth and grace have to be lived out in our relationships to glorify Jesus. Matthew 5:9 states, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” James 3:18 “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” We should not be categorized by push or pull but rather a “sower in peace.” You have to be full of grace and mercy to sow in peace.
Be peacemakers, “full of grace and truth.”