Friday, 02 July 2021
“Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” – 2 Timothy 4:2 NIV
“For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” – John 1:17 NIV
I was raised in what I like to refer to as a dictatorship. My dad was uncompromising in his ideals on how kids should be brought up. He knew what was right and was unwavering in instilling discipline. We never ever questioned his beliefs and knew that it was his way or the highway (technically it was that way and as a result, my older brother had to leave home). He believed that if something was wrong it needed to be addressed immediately and it didn’t matter how you went about doing it. If a person was offended it was their problem, what was important is that the bad behavior was corrected. I also applied the same principles in my life and in my walk with Christ. It’s either black or white, correct or incorrect. There are no shades of grey because the Word is very clear about everything we ought to be doing as Christians. So life was good until I came to this ministry. Someone then decided that I should be in leadership. As if that wasn’t traumatic enough I was then put in a position of leading God’s people.
In our series of teachings, we are focusing on being open to correction as a believer. While these teachings are addressing us being subject to a leader, I will take a slight detour and take the William Nicol off-ramp (we are still going to Pretoria, we are just taking the scenic route). I’m addressing this from the point of view of being the one instilling the correction. The above Scripture (John) talks about truth and grace and as a leader you need to strike a perfect balance between the two. Most of us know and love the truth and we feel justified in applying it to the people we are leading. The problem is Christ besides applying it He also came with grace and this is where most of us fall short. For example, in our department, there were situations where I wanted to apply truth without compromise and Holy Spirit then reminded me that I should be applying grace with the same intensity. While others in the body of Christ focus on grace and inevitably justify wrong behavior but forget to apply truth as well. As modern Christians, we love the grace aspect because it soothes our conscience and allows us to continue on the path of sin. It is very difficult to apply both with the same measure and can only be done through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. My wife always reminds me about grace when I’m about to enforce truth by saying “you must love God’s people”. That’s why I usually run things by her just before I act as she always brings up the grace aspect.
In the other Scripture (Timothy) Apostle Paul is applying both truth and grace. He is applying truth by telling Timothy to correct and rebuke those who are in the wrong while applying grace by advising him to also encourage and be long-suffering. In dealing with God’s people and the world (especially in the body) you need to always correct behavior but also encourage the people you are addressing. As leaders, we need wisdom and discernment to know which aspect to apply more in every situation, as each situation should be judged and tackled on its own merit. Lest we become like the world that twists grace to justify their actions and behavior, or become self-righteous and appoint ourselves as judges and executioners. Truth and grace, the ultimate weapons that don’t work in isolation but as a pair, you can’t have one without the other, or master one and neglect the other. “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ.” – Ephesians 4:15 NIV
Truth and grace, the ultimate weapons that don’t work in isolation but as a pair, you can’t have one without the other, or master one and neglect the other