Grace and Truth

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father,

full of grace and truth. John 1:14

I have often said that my spiritual gift is truth-telling.  As a matter of fact, when my students dedicated last year’s yearbook to me, they said in the inscription that I was known for being brutally honest. It’s true.  I have a pretty quick tongue that often shoots out the truth, brutally, before I have a chance to temper it with grace.  It can be painful.  I often have to backpedal. 

The good news is that if you want to know what I think, just ask me, and I will tell you the truth.  In fact, if my words don’t tell you what I think, my face will betray me every time. 

“Mrs. Rathje, what do you think of this thesis statement?”

“Well, it doesn’t really say anything.” 


Yeah, I guess I could’ve said that more gently.  

“Mom, what do you think of this dress?”

“Well, I guess it looks ok,” (face not matching words).  

“Mom, just tell me if you don’t like it!”

So, the good news is, I don’t lie well.  I tell the truth.  But not always with grace. 

When the scripture was read at church this morning, I heard Jesus described as full of grace and truth.  I thought to myself, ‘they have to coexist’.  We cannot handle the truth unless it is partnered with grace.  

Truth: All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 

Grace: God loved the word so much that He sent his one and only Son. 

Truth: I sin. 

Grace: Jesus saves. 

Jesus gets the balance right every time.  Me? Not so much. I try to say things like, “You’ve got the right format for a thesis, let’s try to make your purpose more clear.”  “This dress is fine, and the other one is even more flattering.”  But, you know, that takes a lot of energy and intentionality. And those are the easy conversations.  

Conversations get much more difficult than that, don’t they? “You can forgive and even love your father, even though what he did was very wrong.”  “God does forgive you and love you, even though you made a huge mistake.” “I am very angry with you, I no longer trust you, and I continue to love you, in spite of those facts.” 

I am very quick to point out the truth, but not so quick to add the grace.  Thankfully, when I turn to His Word, I always see both.  I always see that He is God and I am not.  I always see his perfection and my brokenness.  I always see His provision for my inadequacy. 

I heard a challenge this morning so spend more time in His truth, so that I will be more familiar with His grace.  I am up to that challenge. 

Psalm 95:7

…today if only I would hear his voice.



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