This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves
to be my disciples. John 15:8

Sweet Mercy

>> Sunday, August 24, 2008

God is both perfectly just and perfectly merciful. This is a fact we all state but if you really think about it, it's an astounding reality. I think as human beings, trying to emulate our Savior, we all tend to err on one side or the other. Some of us focus largely on justice, wanting truth to win out at all costs. Some of us focus largely on mercy, wanting love to win out at all costs. So what's more important? Truth or Love?

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:2

This verse certainly implies that it is love. But if that verse is not truth, what does is matter? So truth and love are equally important, which is why God is perfectly capable of both. We, however, are not.

Being raised in the church, I learned a lot about what it meant to be a Christian. I learned the list of things that "good Christian girls" don't do. We don't drink, smoke, swear, have sex before marriage, dress provocatively, date non-Christians, etc, etc, etc....I could go on and on, but you get the point. This is what defined me. Sure, I heard all about having a "personal relationship with Jesus" and even attempted some version of that in my youth that I can now see was laughable. Amongst my Christian friends, however, we mostly defined ourselves by what we did not do.

There is nothing wrong with teaching young girls and boys the value of purity and the slippery slope that comes from being unequally yoked with someone you're considering romantically. There is also nothing wrong with teaching kids that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and we should be good stewards of them. The problem comes when we focus so much on teaching kids the law and forgetting to teach them about the love. Yes....I knew Jesus loved me. I could sing the song and recite the verses. I knew it. But I didn't feel it. I couldn't feel it. All I knew about Him was the list of don'ts He had made for me and, quite frankly, I didn't love that list.

As an adult the Lord has been so patient with me as I have slowly, painstakingly, finally learned to love Him. I realized how much last week as someone tried to convince me that my Jesus cares more about truth than He does about love. Someone had me wondering if the law indeed was more important than the love. I'm grateful to this person because they led me straight to my knees and to the Word, looking for answers to my questions. And praise Him, He was faithful to give them to me:

Jesus' feet are anointed by a sinful woman

The Prodigal Son

Jesus heals on the Sabbath (clearly proving that the religious leaders at the time had taken his commandment to "keep the Sabbath" way out of context. The law was never the point.)

"Let he without sin...." (you know the rest)

I could go on and on. The truth is, the more I get to know my Savior, the more I am overwhelmed by his compassion. As He led me to these verses last week, reminding me of who He truly is, I literally sobbed and fell on my face. He is so good. He loves so much. His love is the very reason He wants us to obey. Not to prove something to Him. He wants us to obey because the "rules" He has put in place for us are for our own good. He is trying to protect us from ourselves! We should not be obeying Him because we have to, we should be obeying Him because we GET TO.

So yes, truth and love are equally important. The problem is, we are incapable of perfectly handling both. So I say, never compromise truth, but when in doubt, err on the side of love. Jesus always did.

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1 comments:

Rachel - Heart Assessment August 26, 2008 at 7:25 AM  

Way to get out that blogging slump. This is a wonderful post.
R <><

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