One of the books I am currently reading is “Changes That Heal.” I am really enjoying it and may recommend it after I have completed it.
I came across a paragraph that I had to share. It reveals the problem in so many of our churches. Instead of being places of truth (calling people to live in accordance with God’s Word) and grace (forgiving and loving ourselves and others when the standard is not met), we tend to focus on either one or the other.
Churches that focus primarily upon grace are loving and forgiving … but holiness is not taken seriously.
Churches that focus primarily upon truth are serious about holiness … but they don’t forgive and love those caught in the clutches of sin.
That’s why we should be so glad that our Savior is “grace AND truth” (John 1:14, 17). He calls us to holiness but He also loves us unconditionally and forgives us quickly and completely on the messy journey to holiness.
But, now back to the book. Read the following paragraph that struck me with how we as churches of the living God need to focus on truth AND grace.
“It is interesting to compare a legalistic church with a good AA group. In this kind of church, it is culturally unacceptable to have problems; that is called being sinful. In the AA group it is culturally unacceptable to be perfect; that is called denial. In the former setting, people look better but get worse, and in the latter, they look worse but get better. Certainly there are good churches and poor AA groups, but because of a lack of grace and truth in some churches, Christians have had to go elsewhere to find healing.” (p. 20).
This is so sad because it is often so true. May we read John 1:14, 17 and realize that God has called us to focus on balancing the same two principles in regard to ourselves and how we relate to others: grace and truth.
May we be people of truth who pursue holiness and call others to do the same. Yet, may we also be people of grace who love and freely forgive ourselves and others when that standard is not met. Only when grace and truth are combined is the soil fertile enough to grow men and women, boys and girls, into the people that God desires for us to be.