Truth + Grace = Love. That’s the Gospel in a nutshell, and the formula for living a godly life. We spend our entire lives learning it.
(20) One whose heart is corrupt does not prosper [positional]; one whose tongue is perverse falls into trouble [relational].
We ALL begin with corrupt hearts. It’s our nature. But, Jesus gives us a new heart and a new nature! We spend the rest of our lives learning how to access it, use it, and allow it to become our go-to for living our lives (godly living).
Notice the words in brackets. Jesus deals with us according to our position in Him. The new heart we receive is permanent and is sealed within us by the Holy Spirit. The relational part is where we live each day. Our tongues (what we say) reveal which nature by which we are living. Is there bitterness in our hearts? Anger? Discord? Vindictiveness? Hostility? Even rebellion? It will show up in our words and actions. What does Jesus expect us to do with these feelings?! Speak them to Him–not directed AT Him, but to Him. He KNOWS what’s there (Death and Destruction lie open before the LORD–how much more do human hearts. Proverbs 15:11), and He wants to help us replace those feelings with His Love, thus giving us His Peace so that we can enjoy His Joy.
The question is, HOW? Let’s look at Jesus’ Modus Operandi, His MO:
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17
The Law shows us that we are sinners in need of a Savior. Living by the Law only breeds more sin. What?!! If we try to live godly lives by living by a set of rules, we learn to be judgemental, we become unforgiving (of others and even ourselves), and we are basically saying that Jesus died for nothing. Really?!! consider this verse:
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (21) I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! Galatians 2:20-21
Jesus came to give us grace and truth. I place truth first because revealing the true nature of something allows us to deal with it in grace. Otherwise, we may fool ourselves by excusing aberrant behavior without actually dealing with it.
The flip side of this coin is to point out truth and expect judgement. If we “can’t let someone get away with it,” we assume the role of judge, which is God’s place. BAD MOVE! When we do this, we allow the situation to draw us into sin–the same place that the person is with whom we don’t want to let get away with it. Instead, we must move from TRUTH to GRACE. If necessary, start with MERCY.
Justice- getting what we deserve.
Mercy- NOT getting what we deserve.
Grace- Getting what we NEED rather than what we deserve.
Eventually, God wants us to move to seeing people and circumstances from His perspective (wisdom), which is to move people from sin and self to salvation and saving grace. We have salvation through His saving GRACE. Let’s learn to share it, especially with those who don’t “deserve” it. After all, we didn’t deserve it, either.