The Gospel of Jesus Christ is…
(Truth) We are more sinful and weak than we ever cared to admit AND…
(Grace) We are more loved and accepted than we ever dared to hope.
I was reading a portion of Joshua Straub’s new book “Safe House” the other day. He is a Christian author that has a heart toward mentoring parents in the 21st century. Parening in the 21st century has some very unique challenges. Challenges with busyness, technology, online social networking, etc. His book is about raising children who live, love and lead well in the 21st century.
In the book he described something called the “Uneven House of Truth”. What he said was that two truths exist in scripture…. one is TRUTH and the other is GRACE What he said was that Christian houses that are heavy on truth and short on grace are environments that create religious “striving” and ultimately become either overtly or covertly emotionally unsafe for children. These unsafe children then either become pleasers or rebellious. This emotionally unsafe environment does not allow children to explore the world in ways a normal. healthier child would. The end results is it creates a covert or overt environment of fear! He went on to say that good parenting is less about your position and more about your posture… and research proves this over and over again.
You see this all the time in the blogosphere,,, people always trying to WIN an argument using TRUTH! It could be Christian truth, it could be conservative truth, it could be liberal truth. It does not really matter. In the end they are striving to win. In their minds, I am sure, they believe they are trying to impact the world. From my perspective, this attempt to win without mercy, love, grace, and understanding never leads to change, growth, or relationship. Ultimately, an uneven house of truth leads to people more deeply entrenching their positions and feeling unsafe to trust the other side. It ultimately leads to broken or trust less relationships.
Jesus always made it safe for sinners struggling with deep issues. People trying to win with truth do not.
Many years ago, my wife and I went to a Church known for “higher truth”. I really wanted to join this church. We even saw John Piper on Sabbattical attending this Church,,, and I remember poking my wife in the side and telling “Hey, there is John Piper!” BTW this is not a Church that John Piper is associated with… he was just attending it during his sabbatical.
I really wanted to join this church and I really liked the preaching,,, my wife clearly did not like this church… we had an argument about it. Her reasons for not liking this church did resonate with me though. The church had an open microphone after the sermon…. and someone would go to the mic to speak. The idea was for people to discuss how God was working in their lives. What happened during the open microphone was hardly ever a real story about how God was working in their lives. What people really did with the open mic was restate and remind people of the central doctrines (truths) of their church. To my wife, and I finally agreed with her, it was not a person being very real and genuine. It really turned her off. To this day, I am so glad I listened to the my wife on this matter.
What my wife sensed I believe, is that this Church had an uneven house of truth DNA … and that thread was running through how the people were speaking during the open microphone.
I like how Tim Keller puts it:
Without the power of grace, truth and love cant be combined.
— Tim Keller, The meaning of Marriage
Instead of leaving with a final thought of mine I am going to leave you with one of my favorite verses in scripture. I want you to focus on the words Jesus says “go and learn what this means”. What I believe Jesus is saying here is that this is not an easy truth to “do” or to understand. Rather, he wants us to mull it over and practice it…. even when it seems hard for us to practice it. I believe if we actually practice mercy, we just might be using some spiritual “muscles” that may not be used very often…. muscles that need to made stronger.
Jesus wants us to to understand the truth of the scripture below… especially when our desire is really to WIN!
Matthew 9:13 But go and learn what this means, I desire mercy not sacrifice.