grace and truth

Audrey Hepburn once said, "people, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone."  I love Audrey Hepburn as an actress, and I love that she seemed very intelligent and very honest.  Many of her quotes have become some of my favorites.

I have never in my life felt the truth in these words more than I do at this time in my life. Sometimes, I feel like I throw people out of my life as though I am tossing out the trash after organizing.  I think maybe I am being convicted of this habit and God is changing my heart for people.  It literally breaks my heart to think of someone tossing me out of their life for whatever reason, and I detest the idea that I might have made someone in my life feel like that.  I am at a loss for words to describe the ache in my heart for my actions. This morning in church, our pastor talked about loving as Christ loved, and Christ loved with equal amounts of grace (I love you) and truth (you are a sinner). (Reference is John 1:14)  He referred to this balance of grace and truth as a beautiful tension - a tension I must admit I have felt in my own life.  I am learning that while I yearn for Christ to extend grace exclusive of truth to me, I often extend truth exclusive of grace to the people around me.  Hence the breaking of my heart and heavy conviction...

Grace is messy because love is messy.  I think truth is very clear cut and easier than grace.  To me grace means taking time and making efforts to look beyond myself and my pain - a difficult and messy task. But if I am to be a disciple of Christ which is my ultimate goal, then there must be this coexistence of both grace and truth - this tension that never needs resolving.  Being reminded of the grace Christ has shown me is just another layer to the thoughts I have wrestled with this week and weekend.

I know that we as people cannot redeem someone's soul - only Jesus can do that.  However, I believe that we can reclaim them - we can reach out to restore relationships.  We can allow them to be redeemed in our eyes; a feat I am convinced is often more difficult than we care to admit because it means looking at people who have hurt us, disappointed us, betrayed us and seeing them the way Christ sees them and us.  I like what John, our pastor, said about this - grace does not make sin okay or acceptable to God, it pays for the sin.

Romans 5:8 states, "That God demonstrated His love towards us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

How can I measure people not worth the time and effort to extend both grace and truth when Christ died to extend both grace and truth to me?  I want people to see Christ in me which means showing both love (grace and truth) to those I interact with.  It also means repentance for those times when I failed to live as I should and to love as I have been instructed to love.

I hope this post makes you ask questions, and I pray that our world knows the full love of Christ.

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