We’ve got quite the line up at FACETS! We have precious thoughts from Tracy (last week) and Kim (next week), and you’ll have a chance to read our friend, Kelli Worrall. If you don’t know her yet, you need to! Check back the fourth week for her guest post. I know you’ll love it!
“March—in like a lion and out like a lamb.” Do you remember that from elementary school, too? That was the springboard thought for this month’s topic. Then we thought about the character of Jesus. Have you noticed He is called “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world” and “the Lion of Judah” in the Bible? These are two of my (Jennifer) favorite names. I notice something about the natures embedded in them. One reveals to me the deeply compassionate and huge nature of Jesus. The other makes me think of a confident, powerful nature. Ah, the multi-faceted nature of God! As the team settled into the topic, we wondered how each of us is multi-faceted, too.
Which of God’s character qualities can I see in my own life?
Grace and truth. That’s a tricky balance, isn’t it? I can get flustered when I think about these two character traits doing their intricate dance in my life. I’m uneasy about “grace” that I think might squeak and scamper into a corner. I’m personally more familiar with “truth” that dons a black robe and wields an over-sized gavel with a BANG!
The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 CSB
Jesus is grace and truth!
When I get muddled in the grace-truth balance, friends remind me of something super-important—our God doesn’t have a wimpy approach to offenses. He doesn’t wink at sin because it damages our hearts and our relationship to Him and others. I’ll limit this post to the category of sin including offenses. (My understanding of sin is richer than that.)
The truth of sin has to be acknowledged. That might make me happy if I had success in perfect living or I felt offended and hoped someone would receive their “just desserts.” But when I’m gut-level honest, I might be overwhelmed by the truth of every known and unknown offense I’ve dished to family, friends, and ultimately my Abba. Then I should be forever grateful for the goodness of truth and grace!
That said, this slice of my life includes a study of the book of Romans. Chapter one is an eye-opener when it comes to truth. I’m reminded that God’s truth will not be mocked.
For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth…They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served something created instead of the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. Romans 1:18, 25
There are consequences for knowing God, not acknowledging Him, and not being thankful: a darkened mind (1:21) and ugly heart. That’s something I don’t want for myself or anyone, but that’s where the path leads. I want to be sensitive to truth and respond well. And I sure don’t want to hide it from anyone who hasn’t been introduced to it yet or might ignore it. But how? I’m going to let that question sit for now—
I’ve received boundless grace from God, and it is the very thing He hopes I’ll extend to others. Actually, it’s more than hope; He commands it.
Be on your guard. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and comes back to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” Luke 17:3-4
I’m tempted to breathe a sigh of relief when I see “rebuke him” because it feels like some kind of control after a tough exchange. But letting someone know they’ve done wrong is loving and gracious. After all, offenses should be acknowledged. Then I focus on “if he repents, forgive him.” When someone responds well, there’s a command: forgive. I must! The “seven times in a day” leaps off the page. Grace after an offense—forgiveness—is the gift I’ve been given, and it’s the gift I lavish time and again.
My story, like yours, is chock-full of difficult interactions. Some events may be more extreme or shocking than many women have experienced, but that’s not my point. Our offenses are not fewer or less significant than others’. What’s helpful but challenging to remember in ugly situations is this:
Indeed, we have all received grace after grace from His fullness, for although the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:16-17
Moses’ law revealed the problem of sin. Through Jesus, the problem was solved completely and permanently. All the offenses—mine and yours, forgotten and remembered—were addressed truthfully (acknowledged) and graciously (the debt to Holy God was settled). Each of us is invited into confession, repentance, and belief (1 John 1:9).
I know this truth. In love, I share it. By grace I want to live out of it with others. Why? Because—
…whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your wrongdoing. Mark 11:25
My God is no vending machine. And prayer is more than the laundry list of requests, let’s be clear. But a clean heart makes all the difference in connecting heart-to-heart with Him. That’s the prayer conversation I want with my Father in heaven—hearing Him and thankful I’m heard.
And relationships with others? Nothing is better than knowing you are loved at your worst. Sure, we are liked and even loved at our best, but that’s easy. The rough moments mirror the Lion and the Lamb in everyday life, right?
Thanks for reading, friends. What you think about this month’s topic? Pop a comment in below or at the Facebook page. Are you choosing to know truth, reveal it, and be gracious in the process, too?