We talk a lot about grace today. We want to be given grace whenever we mess up. Other people expect to be given grace. Grace is a good thing.
One of the definitions given for grace is mercy. I've heard it said that the difference between grace and mercy is this: Mercy is not giving someone what they deserve (punishment) while grace is giving someone something they don't deserve (an unexpected kindness or perhaps forgiveness).
I know we all need forgiveness and while it may not be deserved it's definitely necessary in our human life/failings.
The thing that set me to thinking though was something one of my friends said at Bible study this week. She was quoting something our pastor had said a week or two before - I missed it.
"You have to walk through truth to get to grace."This resonates with me because so often I feel like people want grace for the things they do without thinking that there's really anything wrong with what they've done. As a very Type-A personality I see things in black and white and right and wrong. I have a hard time giving someone grace for an action or offense they think there's nothing wrong with.
That's where the above quote comes in. But it's coupled with a verse I thought of - while doing laundry of all things.
Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." ~John 8:31-32What I've got running around in my brain is this: We all want to be given grace, but that grace is meaningless unless it brings us freedom. And to do that we have to fully take stock of ourselves in the light of the truth (Jesus' teachings) and see ourselves.
I could totally go off on a soapbox about how our culture wants the grace without the truth, but I think we all already know that.
I want the grace in my life and I know that Jesus offers it, but I think what I've been missing to feel truly free is the truth. I need to turn around and look into the light of truth, accept it, make the hard decisions that lead to changes, and then also accept the grace that is given while I am on the path to change.
Grace and truth must walk hand in hand. And that's a good thing!