Last Sunday morning, I was preparing to speak before a group of couple hundred people at our church. The main focus of my talk was about effectively communicating truth gracefully in a sometimes hostile environment. In the distraction caused by nervousness and excitement, something was missing. Had I forgotten something?
What unifies grace and truth?
I felt my outline was lack-luster and I decided to take a break. I happened to reach for a book that a mentor of mine had given me last year entitled “Incarnate Leadership” by Bill Robinson. I had previously read about half of the book but, it remained unfinished for several months.
Upon opening it, I landed on page 80 which is a chapter called ‘Living in Grace and Truth’. As I read, I found the missing component for my talk. Somehow in the action of preparing my talk, I had lost of the cement that unites grace and truth. I had forgotten the needs of the audience. I was given a gentle reminder 😉
Below is a quote from Bill Robinson’s book. I weaved it into my talk later that day. With his help, I was able to hit the target. I don’t know you Dr. Robinson, but thank you, sir.
“Grace and truth need each other. Grace ceases to be grace if it lacks truth. And truth loses its power if it lacks grace. Grace without truth sanctions and perpetuates unwanted actions.” He goes on to draw this out like a good teacher;
Bill’s Guidelines ‘for people who want to pummel me with the truth’:
- I will have a hard time hearing the truth if I am busy defending myself.
- I will have a hard time identifying truth if the assault feels like it’s more for your good than for mine.
- I am not capable of accepting truth from you if the attack feels personal.
- I will stop thinking about truth if you make claims about my motives. Only I know my motives – and I would rather you ask me what they were than tell me what you think they are.
Truth without grace is harsh, usually self-centered, and un-Christlike. Grace without truth is deceptively permissive, often lazy and equally un-Christlike. Good leaders (that includes you and me) communicate both grace and truth in love. Loving those we lead answers the question, ‘Should I show grace or should I tell the truth?’ Both. Love unites grace and truth.”
If you have been to a wedding, you’ve probably heard the following passage from the Bible. Love rejoices with what? (see below):
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the TRUTH.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor 13:4-5,13)
Our culture says truth is offensive and truth is relative. We find ourselves pursuing comfort over truth. And here we are…
If you love someone, then speak truth with grace… Always in love.
Source: Quotation taken from ‘Incarnate Leadership‘ by Bill Robinson