Think for a minute about some of your best coaches, teachers, professors, bosses or personal trainers that brought the most out of you. What was common among them? How is it that even in a subject you maybe otherwise disliked a teacher can get you to excel? How is it that some coaches bring out the best in us and others leave us hating the sport we formally loved? I believe all these people have tapped into one critical balancing act in leadership. They have mastered an art without even knowing its biblical roots. Jesus himself gives us a model for how to pass on skill and encourage others.
Ultimately this is the relational art of biblical discipleship. When we inspire, encourage, teach and motivate others towards spiritual growth. No one can take spiritual steps for others and ultimately only the Holy Spirit brings lasting heart transformation. Yet, Jesus commands us “to make disciples.” For us to move others and move ourselves into a state of learning to live like Jesus. Discipleship.
Discipleship is made up of both speaking truth and giving grace. It is not a compromise of truth and it is not an abuse of grace. When both and present there is a culture present for incredible growth. Grace expressed acknowledges we are all growing and challenge by truth telling brings clear direction.
John highlights this in Jesus life introducing him early in his gospel letter saying,
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
Later in John 8 Jesus responds to a complicated situation with a strong example of this grace and truth in discipleship. In response to a woman’s sin being highlighted to him Jesus says: “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” No condemnation for the sin is a demonstration of grace, but the command to sin no more clearly speaks the truth of what the correct action is to be.
It is more than ineffective to avoid telling truth or extending grace. It is unloving and counterproductive to discipleship. As parents, leaders, bosses, teachers, coaches our motivation to see others succeed is based in a wholesome love for them that is compelled to extend grace and truth. This is an embodiment of the gospel. The truth we don’t deserve a right relationship with God our Father and the saving grace that because of Jesus death and resurrection we can. Grace and truth. Discipleship.
Q. Do I tend towards being a “truth teller” or “grace extender”? How has this impacted my relationships?
Q. Without over correcting, how can I step into a better balance of grace and truth?