With Love and Grace

I’ve been thinking a lot about writing. Partially because it seems like it’s been ages since I’ve been able to really write, even though it’s only been a couple weeks. But also because I started thinking about how I write, and how I engage people on social media. Whether I’m too brash when I feel confident in something, or too arrogant when I see someone type something that makes me shake my head in disagreement. A friend of mine, Mike, is a young adult pastor and he said some things as we were going through 1 Peter 2 that made me stop and think about all this.

When he talked about 1 Peter 2:15 he pointed out that when Jesus healed people, the only thing the religious leaders could bring against Him was doing something good. They literally had nothing on Him. He didn’t break the law; He showed compassion. He didn’t malign the religious leaders; He spoke truth in love. Despite the charges brought against Him, He wasn’t blasphemous; He called the lost to find healing through repentance.

This bears heavy on me, as a blogger. I mean, it bears heavy on me in general, but specifically when it comes to writing. When someone reads what I write, do they find truth seasoned with grace and love, or do they find truth suppressed by arrogance and contentiousness?

When I interact with others on Twitter, do I come across as an obnoxious Calvinist, or do I rest enough in God’s sovereignty to show grace and love to people who think “Calvinism is the Devil.” Yes, I’ve heard that. Heck, I may have even said it at one point before Calvinism made sense. Am I encouraging others to keep pressing into Christ, even if I disagree with some of their Theology, or am I more concerned about seeking out vindication for my beliefs than loving my brothers and sisters in Christ?

Calvinists, what would happen if the worst thing an Arminian could say about you was that you spoke with humility and extended grace toward those who disagree with you? Complementarians, how would our conversations look if we spent more time pointing people to Jesus and less time throwing in the extra line about gender roles?

Arminians, how would your interaction with Calvinists look if the worst thing that Calvinists could say is that you loved us well, even though our Theology is polar opposite on some points? Feminists, what would happen if the worst thing Complementarians could say about you was that you were loving and winsome as you point out the real abuse that has taken place when Patriarchy goes wrong and Complementarian Theology is twisted into an oppressive mentality and that which it wasn’t meant to be?

I know I’ve picked some hard topics, and challenged people on both sides of the prevalent conversations on Twitter and in the blogosphere. But I want to point out an instance where this was done very well.

I’ve already reviewed Sarah Bessey’s book, Jesus Feminist, and I pointed out how winsome she was. I disagree with her Theology on some points, but by God she wrote beautifully and spoke with grace. In the end, literally all I could say other than “I disagree with some things” was “She wrote well!” That’s it. She didn’t some across as contentious, arrogant, or even as a wounded person fighting against oppression. She wrote with love and grace and compassion bleeding through the pages. Her message wasn’t diluted by harsh words, and her words weren’t drowned out by a contrary tone.

So, let’s all stop for a minute and really check ourselves. Do we stir up controversy on Twitter just to stir it up? Are our words beneficial, or do they come across as a clanging symbol — graceless and without love?

4 responses to “With Love and Grace

  1. Dan McDonald

    Wonderful thoughts and well expressed. We best prove the doctrines of grace by growing in humility and graciousness.

  2. “…people who think ‘Calvinism is the Devil.’ Yes, I’ve heard that. Heck, I may have even said it at one point before Calvinism made sense.”

    Been there, done that!

    In all seriousness, you’re right; we have a lot to learn in the realm of gracious conversation as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling. That fear and trembling is not boastful, it doesn’t seek to “win” conversations, but it is a sober frame of mind in a life saved by grace through faith alone. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5) Fear and trembling seeps out into our walk with the Lord, our words, our relationships, etc; where bravado rises up, the fear of the Lord is forgotten (even if temporarily, been there too). Controversy is distraction, and we who love our Lord Jesus Christ would do best to not forget the one who revels in our distraction.

    Great job, Don. I pray for a sober heart and mind for us all in these things.

    • “That fear and trembling is not boastful, it doesn’t seek to “win” conversations, but it is a sober frame of mind in a life saved by grace through faith alone.”

      “Controversy is distraction, and we who love our Lord Jesus Christ would do best to not forget the one who revels in our distraction.”

      I love these! Man, those early morning Theology classes are paying off! 🙂

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