Grace and Truth - 2 Vital Ingredients Toward Love

Grace and Truth - Two Vital Ingredients Toward Love - By Steve Wickham

But, one way to define love really fully -- in general relationships at least -- is the enmeshed state of truth combined with grace; the ability to state plainly the issue at hand but do it in a way that is completely sensitive to the other person's feelings and anyone else's. Such a thing requires both tact and courage... honesty and compassion... respect and candor.
The truth, by itself, is damaging. It hurts, literally. It hurts most when it comes without grace or without enough grace (tact, compassion, respect). Grace in this way is a sort of 'undeserved favour.' It's not the 'charming' sort of grace that is elegant and full of poise. Grace is always erring on the side of the other person -- it's always prepared to give the benefit of the doubt. The timid can be seen as giving grace because they always tend to give way to others -- they perhaps get a double portion of grace but lack the courage to present truth adequately. 
We often reject the truth about ourselves because we don't see it "in" grace's eyes. If we saw the truth through the eyes of grace, it would be soft enough to see and cope with. Many people find the truth just too hard to bear. A person who is 100 kilograms overweight is probably living in denial and a classic example. They can't handle the truth because it is too harsh a reality for them; or at least the remedy would require too much courage. Yet, if only they had a way of realising grace enough to love themselves unconditionally they would find that they could literally achieve anything.
Grace loves because it wants to -- it is a choice and it is completely spiritual. It's never forced like many of our decisions -- i.e. decisions that show kindness on the outside but aren't felt 'kind' within the inner-self.  See, grace is a miracle of God; to actually feel love in your heart for a person that wrongs you; this can only happen with the Spirit -- which lies in each one of us. All of us have the ability to be altruistic. Yet, altruism is the Holy Spirit giving us a sample of the spiritual experience. 
Grace isn't nice because it has to be. How often are we "nice" because we have to be -- we really don't like "that" person but we tolerate them because we have to; we work with them, or they're our brother or sister, or through some other circumstance, you have no choice. This is NOT grace. True grace actually feels genuine in giving another chance. There's no cost involved personally when we give like this; it's grace.  People who are too truthful, on the other hand, were described by Rick Warren as "EGR" people -- that is, Extra Grace Required... from us, to accept their faults. We all know some people who seem to need more of our ongoing grace and forgiveness; they're socially unaware and don't know what they don't know -- in some instances they perhaps don't care. People who bluntly reveal truth without considering the consequences are part of this group.
We need the honesty of truth in relationships; and more than ever today, in a 'politically correct' age, when we're increasingly inclined to flattery and to soften the message, making it false and meaningless, and potentially banal and docile. But the truth that's not filtered somewhat lacks love of grace. It becomes brutal and self-effacing. Truth and grace in equal proportions, however, equals love in relationships.
This is where it gets hard. How do we employ courage and tact at the same time? It can only happen with love! We need a heart of love. Both sides -- love and truth/grace -- are interdependent. They are strands that are part of the same cord.  They strengthen and reinforce each other for capable, lasting, loving, and resilient relationships based on mutual understanding and value.
Copyright © 2008, S.J. Wickham.  All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Steve Wickham is a safety and health professional (BSc) and a qualified lay Christian minister (GradDipDiv). His key passion is work / life balance and re-creating value for living, and an exploration of the person within us. Article Source: Article Source: