Where Grace Begins

“I was the one who damaged the car,” I confessed to my friend and his father. Together, they had built it to compete in the Soap Box Derby, and so some of us boys took turns one afternoon riding it down the inclined driveway. Sometime after we put the car away in the garage, however, I went back for more fun, but this time alone. Thinking the car was safely secured, I left it unattended for a moment, only to look up in helpless horror as it rolled down the driveway and into some concrete blocks, snapping a steering cable and tearing a hole in the side of the body. I rolled it back into the garage and didn’t say a word, somehow hoping in my nine-year-old mind that the damage would not be discovered. It was, of course, but I denied any culpability during the questioning that followed. Inside, however, I churned.

It doesn’t take us long in life to discover that truth is an immovable thing. It withstands not only blatant lies, but also subjective opinions and feelings that subtly challenge reality as though it can be eroded by our own desires. Though we cannot see truth, it is an unconquerable champion—we either accept it on its terms or wither and writhe before it in failed rebellion. (When will we ever learn?) Is this a bad thing? No, the immutability of truth is good for us, it is hope for us.

For truth is the starting point of grace. When do we receive forgiveness? Is it when we conceal a matter, or when we openly confess it? When do we abandon our agendas and turn toward God’s, when we coddle our feelings by justifying our wrongs, or when we come to terms with their moral offense and destructive results? And what are the consequences when we declare wrong to be right? The apostle John answers: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.”1 In the mercy of God, He beckons to a place called, “truth,” where we confront our sin with confidence, experience God’s forgiveness with joy, and savor His grace in peace.

The apostle Paul taught us “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”2 My friend and his father showed me this love by forgiving me for my carelessness and the damage that came from it. But I can’t help but think they were even more relieved at the dispelling of falsehood and our arrival at the point where truth reigns and grace begins.

Father, your Word is truth. Send your Spirit to guide me in all truth and to put behind me any notion or desire that would challenge it. Inspire me to speak truth in love and to respond to truth with grace, just as you have done with me. In the name of Jesus and in the power of the Spirit, I pray. Amen.

Christ in me is freedom.

1 1 John 1:8-10
2 1 Corinthians 13:6

Read today’s Scripture in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

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