Friday, August 28, 2020

Tempered with Grace

So we finally have our answer to the question, what does the Bible say? But that question is never complete in and of itself. The Bible leads us to truth, but truth alone is never enough to navigate this broken world. We also need grace. And that's why if you ask me a question about the Bible, I will tell you what the truth is...but I will also tell you what grace is.

Grace is that thing that happens where truth meets flesh, where God's ideals are pressed against our human condition and come out in such a way that His Word is not a weapon; it's a balm. As it should be.

Because the truth is that yes, there is a way that God desires for us to live. But there's also a way that we do live. There are things about this world that are not as they should be, and we are one of those things...navigating a lot of other of those things. So we can never settle for just what the black and white text on some page, even some inspired page, says; we have to always keep pushing until we get to "how God's heart beats."

His heart beats for you, and His love is wild. There is always more to the story than truth will ever tell us. Just talk about the Cross without talking about the passion - you can't do it. You can't talk about a historical Jesus and have Him matter at all if you don't talk about His love for us. You can say all day that He existed, that He preached, that He died, whatever, but if you don't talk about His tender mercy, then you miss something important.

So when we're looking at the Bible to figure out what it "says," especially when we're looking for guidance on issues like sin, we have to remember that the Bible may say this action is sin, but the Bible also says, and God will never let us forget, that the one committing that action is human.

Love the sinner, no matter what you understand about the sin.

Man, that's hard for us to do. We want to know what the Bible says so we can just put stuff in the categories of right and wrong, yes or no. But human beings can't be put into categories like that, and we have to stop trying. We have to always read the Bible to discover how to marry these ideas, not how to emphasize one of them. Every study that we undertake should lead us to be able to say, "This is wrong, but you are loved."

And that's what we have to keep in mind as we draw our conclusions about whatever it is we're studying - it has to lead us to love God more and love others better. If it doesn't do those two things, then we have not uncovered both the truth and the grace of the Bible.

A lot of studies have been undertaken lately on homosexuality and the Scriptures. A lot of stuff has been thrown around. A lot of conclusions have been reached. A lot of Bible thumping has been going on. But if our study of what the Bible says about the issue doesn't also lead us to look into the eyes of the homosexual and realize how distorted all human love is, how broken it is, how far away from God's ideal for human relationship it is, then we've missed grace. Because it's not about condemning the other as much as it is about convicting ourselves.

Perhaps that's what grace does for us. It causes us to convict ourselves, to see our own failings more clearly when we think we've exposed them in others. It reminds us of the plank in our own eye when we are hyper-focused on the speck in someone else's. Grace turns inward the truth we are too willing to push outward and hits on something deep within us that just...can't..condemn anyone else. We find that, whatever we thought five minutes ago, we look into their eyes and them. We can't help ourselves.

Never study the truth without looking for grace. Always, always ask not just what the Bible says, but how God's heart beats. This is what leads you into love. 

No comments:

Post a Comment