Every once in a while someone says a word that brings me fully aware at that moment of the potency it carries. Being a self-proclaimed word person, I tend to listen to the way people use them close-like. Since words are often a vehicle we use to communicate to one another, we ought to heed time spent reflecting on them. Of course, that is a wisdom that can sometimes escape us in the moment… where we fail to speak grace because we want to speak true.
But since John 1:1 tells us the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and Romans 10:17 says that hearing His Word makes our faith grow, and John 14:6 reminds us that truth is also the way and the life all in one. And because it is through His Word that the revealed will of God is made clearer to us…. we ought to spend time… quality and quantity included… digging deep from the reservoir of grace and truth that is hidden there.
Grace and truth go together.
Every Tuesday, I sit around a table of 11 students where words are spilled in abundance. Hopefully, truth and grace are there more than they are not. And their words are often the catalyst for the discussions that we traverse each week. Usually, I have a list of questions that I want to dive into, discussion starters that are meant to make them think. And most often, they ask a few of their own which allows the process of communication to flow.
That is the best part… when communication is a two-way street. That is the place where hearts are reached and minds are engaged and lives are changed by the wielding of words, hopefully good words, true words, grace words. And that is the goal of any teacher who has the privilege to disciple and guide someone else on their journey.
Truth be told, I am learning so much from them that I don’t always feel like the teacher. They are the best part of my week. Because they are raw and unafraid to be real. They are not yet so broken by the world that they hide from the power of humility when they recognize the fruit of its yield. They are still bendable, not wholly hardened to a doctrine where grace has no influence and hope is just a word. Even if it is a small seed, it is there.
So this week as our words blended in to queries and responses on the importance of growing our faith and being honest and real one of my students caught my attention with his answer. We were talking about whether finding faith on your own was more profound than the privilege of growing up in a Christian home. As you can imagine the cacophony of noise erupted with plenty of teenage wisdom on this vein. After listening for a while, a usually quiet and not-so-serious classmate said, “You can either be a truth-teller or a grace-giver.”
My response was,”Is there a difference?”
And it set me to thinking about this #gracemoment ushered right into my heart by my 10th grade students.
Why can’t we be both?
We ought to be.
The truth teller speaks what is right, but the false witness speaks what is deceitful. – Proverbs 12:17
Truth-tellers are those who, according to a Psychology Today article, are committed, no matter the outcome of that commitment, to honesty. But with all words, our definitions refine our understanding. And so… there are many truth-tellers who have no qualms about telling it like it is. Some how being true without grace is an admired quality. Tact seems to be undermined by the necessity to tell the ‘truth’ as they see it. Even believers.
Yet… John 14:6 tells us that Jesus is not only the way and the life but HE IS the Truth. And if that is the case, then truth-tellers, ultimately ought to be communicating Christ in every word.
And somehow we think that grace means we don’t offend or are unwilling to say something others don’t want to hear. Yet that is not grace at all. Truth tellers should not hide behind false grace, even when it is counter-cultural. In fact, a false grace replicates a hypocritical response of which there is no evidence of the mercy and kindness and favor that defines Biblical grace to begin with.
When we are less than truth-tellers, we reject the character of God and thereby, additionally, we reject grace.
And God, the giver of grace, who called you to His eternal glory, after you have suffered a little while will restore you and make you strong and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10
Grace originates with God… as does the concept of giving. And as the original grace giver, His Word is the maxim that leads us to understand the concept more fully. Some believe it is the antithesis of grace not to speak the truth. Yet, wouldn’t it be wholly the opposite?
Grace is an expression of favor and kindness, an active reception of a gift we don’t deserve but because of love we can receive with the hope. Truly, the grace-giver doesn’t just talk about true-things and God-things separately, not if they recognize the moral of truth and the value of grace and the purpose of the connection between them.
In my class, my student said it as an either/or statement. But I don’t think it can be one or the other. Do you agree?
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14
Grace balances truth…and truth without grace is just noise.
Truth tempered by grace draws from the love of God which is shed abroad in the hearts of those who have humbly come to the Cross and are walking the way of grace in their journey. Truth is a byproduct of His fullness in us. And yet, grace is imperfect without the wholeness of truth to give it meaning and purpose.
The thing is, we are healed by grace and truth together. There is monumental power in the working of one with the other. As we find ourselves fully abandoned in the fullness of the grace that is only found in the Word, the truth made flesh, we are changed. We become grace-givers that tell the truth, and we are healed by the knowing, by the giving, by the speaking. Our corporate conversations on truth and grace heal those seared and ripped up pieces of our souls. We are remade in His image and restored for a better way. A way of grace that is forever balanced by truth.
Behold God is my helper, the Lord is the upholder of my life.- Psalm 54:4
What are you beholding, friend?
Is it grace and truth together or separate?
I fully believe it is more than possible to be a truth-teller and a grace-giver together. I am not sure that one who speaks true is not also speaking grace. It seems as if one cannot exist without the other. Do you think this is an either/or question? Or do you think both is possible?
IT’S YOUR TURN TO BE A GRACE COUNTER! SHARE YOUR GRACE MOMENT IN THE COMMENTS BELOW AND THEN COUNT GRACE WITH A FRIEND WITH COMMENT ON A BLOG OR TWO.
If you are a blogger, link up here with a post about finding grace moments in your life or one of your favorite inspiring and encouraging posts from this week. Share your thoughts in the comment section telling me about the #Grace Moments you experienced this week. *(only 1 post per link please)*
Take time to visit your neighbor next to you, and if you want visit a few more friends on the journey. We all need a little encouragement and affirmation as we travel together.
If you don’t have a blog, you can connect with me via my Journeys in Grace FB page by sharing a photo or a comment. Or you can join the party by sharing your images on Instagram with #Gracemoments hashtag.
Each week I will try visit as many of your amazing posts as I can.This is a safe place to sit and dwell in grace together, friends. I can’t wait to pour a cup of friendship with you and take in the grace moments you have to share. Don’t forget to leave a comment below, I love to hear from you.
Dawn, thank you for rejecting the tyranny of the “or” for the beautiful wisdom of the “and.” The glory of the only begotten of the Father is that he came to us full of grace and truth–and we long to be like him.
Absolutely right, Michele. Grace without truth isn’t fully grace, and truth without grace also misses the mark. Grace & truth find their perfect expression in Jesus – and he alone is our standard. Fortunately both of these are to flow from inside-out through his Holy Spirit, rather than being imposed from the outside as a discipline – phew – I need to learn that over and over. Bless you ladies, for your words of wisdom!
Grace and truth are joined together. We don’t always think of it that way, but it’s a beautiful synergy. Thanks, Dawn!
Dawn, I love this! Grace and Truth are perfectly knitted together in the gospel and that’s what I long to be – gospel centered. I think, in our culture, that we see grace and truth separately. But we really can’t separate them. Being truthful is the purest form of grace there is! Thank you for this and for the link party! Have a wonderful weekend! Katy @ SYE
Thanks for hosting!
I think there are either & both, knowing human character…those who as you mentioned above who are committed to the “truth” as they often see it but are often without the actual facts.
Those who can speak with eloquence & grace but not necessarily have God’s grace!
Then those who allow the Holy Spirit to speak His truth & grace through them!
Thank you for hosting,
I have a 33 year old missionary teacher daughter who is a truth-without-grace speaker.
It destroyed her marriage, and often ruins relationships as soon as they get started.
This post was excellent and confirms my believe that truth is often acceptable when delivered with grace, but without it it can do more harm than good.
My most constant prayer for my daughter has been that she becomes filled with GRACE.
She has improved tremendously, thankfully, but she keeps me on my knees!
Love does not take offense – is the Scripture that keeps our relationship strong .
At this point in time, even if I spoke truth laced with grace, world war 3 might erupt, so prayer is my powerful weapon to the pulling down of strongholds, and I just love her despite her acid laced tongue attacks when she is tired or stressed.
What would you do?