“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
Our common experiences often leave us with empty and foolish notions of both grace and truth. Grace, it is often assumed, is something less than judgment but nothing of genuine expense. It is a thing to which everyone seems entitled. Yet, we rarely hear how this might square with the notions of justice and goodness.
Truth has also been obscured in our day. It has become a wax nose that may be shaped according to preference. The only truly true truth is that nothing is absolutely and universally true. Of course, people rarely stop to think about the obvious contradiction of such a statement.
Jesus Christ, however, does not play by our modern (or post-modern) rules of social etiquette. He speaks with piercing truth and subduing grace. Jesus expresses overwhelming grace while He simultaneously speaks words of stinging truth. He lovingly tells us the hard truths we need to hear, and He shows amazing grace to undeserving sinners.
The presence of grace is not the absence of hard truth, and speaking the truth is not necessarily ungracious. Genuine love is expressed in both grace and truth.
The friend who avoids criticizing you because he/she does not want to hurt your feelings is no true friend. Such avoidance is selfish, and it perpetuates and encourages our own self-delusions. What we all need is a friend willing to enter into our weaknesses, tell us the truth about ourselves, and to offer us gracious grace. We need someone to be honest and loving, candid and caring.
In our day, like every era before, true friends are hard to find. Jesus is a friend like no other, and we may be refreshed by His grace and truth. Additionally, when we have received grace and truth from Christ, we must express the same to others.
May God help us to rest in Christ, and may He motivate us towards the more costly relationships – expressing real grace and truth.