Excuse the late post! Technical difficulties:
One of the many swinging pendulums in Christianity is grace & truth. Ideally, they go hand and hand. Run side by side along each other, one not inching further than the other.
I see people air heavily on the side of truth, wagging fingers and heaping shame onto already-discouraged shoulders. Other times I’ve witnessed unachored measures of grace, using the name of Christ like a get out of jail free card (which, eh, it is), excusing any and all behavior, without tethering themselves to anything. I, myself, wavor between these two extremes and wonder when I’m getting it right.
I love Paul’s no-nonsense tone here. Here are a couple things I consider when I’m bringing the truth, with grace:
Know your audience. Paul was speaking to a mature group of believers who were aware of what was expected of them. He knew them, had a relationship with them and he had authority over them. New believers, people who are just stepping into a community of faith, they need more grace. (I once heard a pastor compare it to disciplining a toddler verses a teenager.)
Preach the gospel. Notice in 6:9-11 that every time Paul lays down the truth, he follows it up with a piece of the gospel. “But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God…”
Try to leave your opinion out of it. Anytime Paul brought up a behavior that needed correcting, he reminded them what God thinks about it, not necessarily what he thinks about. Our hearts tend to be fickle. Sometimes we enable those we love and try to justify their sin, other times our hearts can be unnecessarily judgemental and bitter towards someone. Stick with what God says.
On the flip side of this, whenever someone speaks truth into your life, sift everything they say through God’s word. Not everything someone with spiritual authority in your life says is right. Does it line up with the gospel? Is there Scripture backing up what they’re telling you?
I’m so thankful for the people in my life who extend me equal measures of grace and truth. The more familiar I become with God’s word, the more easily I can hear his voice amongst the noise.
Is there someone in your life you need to speak truth to?
Or, did someone speak into your life and you’re not sure what to do with it? Pray, first and foremost. Ask God to confirm it if it’s true, or reveal what’s really going on.