November 1, 2021

Grace & Truth

For many months I've been praying a simple prayer...

Andy Nash

I know how many of you feel. Or at least I think I do.

As a Christian committed to God’s Word, you’re concerned to your core about the culture. As if the rapid shifts on sexuality weren’t enough, now it’s gender fluidity. Where does it stop? Your head’s spinning . . . and for many years your heart’s been hurting. Abortion rights: What about the rights of the most vulnerable of all?

I share these same convictions. Who can read the first two chapters of Genesis and not grieve over what humanity has done—is doing—to the image of God?

Jesus wasn’t afraid to speak words of truth. To the wayward Samaritans He said, “You . . . worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews” (John 4:22).* To the secular Sadducees, Jesus shook His head: “You do not know the Scriptures or the power of God” (Matt. 22:29).

For many months I’ve been praying a simple prayer: to keep a soft heart in an ever-hardening world.

Jesus was filled with truth; Jesus was also filled with grace. Jesus was holy; Jesus was also kind.

For many months I’ve been praying a simple prayer: to keep a soft heart in an ever-hardening world. The language of humanity has gotten so harsh, so divisive, that I can’t help wondering: Has our love grown cold? What troubles me most is the increasing coldness of Christians, especially on social media. Are we Christians still caring? still compassionate? Have we become so afraid to align with the wrong group politically that we’re afraid to speak, or post, a kind word personally?

Recently I was reminded of a childhood memory: driving in the Subaru with my fun, young mom who was excitedly telling me about a new song on the radio called “Ebony and Ivory.” As Mom explained about a Black man and a White man singing together, like keys on a piano, I felt myself sharing the joy and tenderness in her heart.

I’ve missed this joy and tenderness within my wider spiritual family.

There was another group of people Jesus wasn’t afraid to confront: those closest to truth but furthest from grace. Jesus knew the sharp minds and the cold hearts of the Pharisees, and He called them on it—again and again. The story Jesus told about a gasping Jewish man rescued by a Samaritan made it clear: unbelievers can, in fact, be more caring than believers.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Over time Jesus’ followers felt their hearts soften—including a young disciple once eager to call down fire on Samaritans, and a brilliant Pharisee who would one day write the love chapter.

We too can feel our hearts soften again. We Christians can stop mimicking the world and look to Christ, who loved the world.

“We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

* All Bible texts are from the New International Version.

Andy Nash ([email protected]) is a pastor and author who leads study tours to the Holy Land.