I think I know how to speak the truth, that it is easy to do so. The first chapter of Henry Clouds book Changes that Heal served as an excellent reminder that speaking the truth is not easy. Not because it is so hard to so those tough things, but because I often think of truth as separate from grace.
I think of truth as harsh, even cruel, as the Law. But the Gospel of John claims, as Cloud points out, that the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17).
This means that when I use the alone Law as the emblem of truth, I actually fall short of the fullness of truth.
My daughter was having trouble getting ready for school this morning. One after the other, I pointed out the things she forgot or did wrong as the morning dragged on. I communicated to her that she needs to be able to get ready better, keep her room neat, and move quicker.
Didn’t I communicate the truth? No, I didn’t. Even adults struggle with getting ready. This is where a suggestion from another book I am reading begins to make sense. In Parenting Toward the Kingdom, Philip Mamalakis explains that our job is not to eliminate the struggle, but to help kids identify it, stand with them in it, and help them develop skills to meet these struggles. The truth might have been:
Getting ready is hard, what can we do to make it easier?
No wonder the morning ended in tears, I was neither a minister of grace or of truth.
Words of condemnation, judgment, cruelty are actually untrue in as much as I treat them like the whole picture.
There is no truth that does not proceed from the mercy and gentleness of Christ. Though it feel harsh to me at the time, though such truth be unwelcome, it is not the character of the truly true to be cruel, mean, condemning.
What a challenge…what a ministry, to practice speaking to myself and others such truth, a truth that is never severed from grace, from mercy, from gentleness and kindness, from the fruits of the spirit.
Oh, Lord, may I begin this day with an ever clearer vision of the character of truth as you know it. May I embody that Truth which came not through the Law, but through the person of Christ, not that I may set myself in opposition to law, but that every word of truth I speak my echo with the human and personal voice of our Lord and Savior. May I come to believe and represent that in every truth is grace and in every grace truth, and in this may our healing begin afresh.