Grace and Truth

Read: John 1:1-18

As a pastor I spend some of my time with individuals and families in hospital settings.  I have always admired the challenging job that doctors and nurses have on the medical side of things, but I also realize the even more difficult task they have of sharing news with people and families that they sometimes don’t want to hear.  In a devotional I read today by Helen Paynter I was reminded of this balance of sharing the truth while also extending grace.

In her devotional she wrote about how some doctors will “blurt out the diagnoses or prognosis without any words of preparation or comfort.”  As a former doctor (now pastor and teacher) she often reminds them about the need to be clear while also being very kind in how they share the news with them.  I have seen some doctors do this very well and I admire them for this challenging part of their jobs.

As I was thinking about the importance of this for doctors and nurses it occurred to me that the same advice holds true for all of us.  We need to be honest and speak truth, but we also need to do it with kindness and grace.  Too often in our world people blurt out their opinions without considering the impact it may have on other people.  We must remember that we are all created in the image of God and must live in this world together.

In John 1:14 the Bible says, “The Word (Jesus) 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.”  There it is, Jesus came to us in grace and truth.  I don’t think it is a mistake that John put grace first.  When we approach someone with grace it changes how we share the truth.

The truth of God needs to be shared in a world that is lost!  But for the world to even have the desire or opportunity to receive it in the right way it must be presented with grace, peace, and love.  Helen shares this prayer at the end of her devotional and may it be our prayer as well…. “Lord, please fill me with such love for your world that I have the courage to speak truth and the grace to do it with gentleness and humility.”

Make it personal:  As we try to practice this in our own lives we can also watch how others are succeeding or failing at this.  On T.V. and in social media we often see examples of how not to do it.  Let’s learn from those situations and change the way we speak the truth of Christ in our world.

Have a wonderful week,  Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church