He came, John wrote, full of grace and truth.
Grace and truth. Truth and grace.
I mull the words, mixing them in a million ways, and always they stay only two words. Two words that dazzle me, words so big that I can’t get my head around them. It’s good I’m not trying to understand ten words.
I am desperate, panting, wanting to absorb what they mean and what they are.
Truth defies darkness, illumines, clarifies. To live with one lie–even half a lie–is too much darkness to endure. What is the truth about this situation? What can dispel the lie I believe here? Living in light is what we were created for, and it is beautiful.
But truth alone can kill, can cut to the bone, can devastate. Truth can be scary, and we unconsciously adopt ways to avoid it.
Grace moves into the cracks that truth opens. Grace soothes and softens. It never refutes truth, never distorts the light. It gives space and understanding and patience. It gives when it could rightfully demand. It forgives when it could justly expose.
Humans, in their finiteness, are prone to the either/or limitations of grace and truth. We try to be balanced, and try to come out with a good average. But Christ, in His fullness and perfection, came FULL of both grace and truth.
The wonder of it catches my breath and makes me hungry for the same fullness, the same richness. I know how my fallible heart harps on truth without the balm of grace, but the next minute slathers grace in the shade, disregarding the full truth.
I see that real change in the world and in me happens at the place where grace is poured onto truth.
The bishop told Jean Valjean who’d stolen the silver: “You promised to become an honest man. You no longer belong to evil but to good. With this silver I ransomed your soul, and now I give you back to God.” The truth was that he no longer belonged to evil. Accepting the grace poured onto that made Jean Valjean a changed man . Javert, though, tried to live his life without breaking a single rule but truth by itself it had no power for lasting change in himself or anyone in his world.
(If you’ve never read Les Miserables go quickly and get a copy to read over Christmas break.)
He who is full of Truth and Grace is my life model, and I love Him, however feebly and childishly. His truth takes away the shadows of untruths, and His grace softens the hard edges of this fallen, tired, broken world.
He rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations sing!