The Dilemma Knocking on My Door

Grace and Truth knocked on my door last night. Ironically both were frantic and adamant. They have come to the door hundreds of times, but it still surprises me. This dilemma brings on a sick nervous feeling and a worry.

Grace accused me of being legalistic and literal, mean and hard. Claims that if I really knew people who were hurting, people who believed differently, I would change my mind. Grace seems to be willing to reveal herself to everyone but Truth.

Truth accuses me of being soft – wishy-washy and without conviction, changing my mind with the wind. Truth is so hard and unyielding sometimes.

As if the silent battle is not enough, voices from the outside join in through blogs and articles, conversations and sermons. My world and mind are noisy with opinion.

Truth talks loudly; Grace talks emphatically; they both talk insistently. And I scream inside about how much I love them both and that they are intimately connected, this Grace and Truth. For I cannot give Grace without knowing Truth and I cannot know Truth apart from Grace.

I close my eyes and the two of them suddenly collide, velvet and steel – unlikely bedfellows. Maybe the dilemma is a gift. If they hadn’t come knocking they wouldn’t have collided and the collision is the best possible scenario.

The steel cabinet of Truth open, displaying shelves full of velvet and lace, products of Grace. The velvet and lace of Grace finding a resting place on shelves of steel. My dilemma can rest for a time, gazing at the open cabinet and seeking the One in whom Grace and Truth collide, the One who is full of Grace and Truth.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14


23 thoughts on “The Dilemma Knocking on My Door

    1. It doesn’t make sense to me. I only apprehend my “personal versions”of anything because I experience everything through my body, my senses and my mind. It seems to me that “faith” means to go with what arises inside me as that is where I experience the numinous. I can be influenced by others but they only have their own “versions.” It seems a waste of time to imagine there is some objective “true”grace and truth out there. Whatever theory or interpretation one has of God, the Bible, truth, grace or a piece of literature or music, there are always human disagreements and nuance of perspective not to mention the limitations of language and expression.


  1. I was in a church that always said that they were providing truth when it felt a lot like scathing rebuke, so I’m very cautious to use this verse in the context of any kind of judgement of other people.

    Rather, I wonder if balancing truth and grace is something we worship and love about Jesus- who seemed to offer grace to sinners and truth to those who thought they weren’t. So to the extent that God talks to me, I take grace when I’m low and truth when I’m puffed up.


    1. Beautifully put … and I agree, any of us who have been in places where truth was abused scream out in protest, rightly so. But is that real truth or is it power masquerading as truth? I love what you say about Jesus and that which we worship about him is that he was, as the verse suggests grace and truth personified and always displaying those in the appropriate percentages. I wonder though if there is a possibility of being pharisee about sin. Someone inside the church who beds another man’s wife, breaks up two marriages and yet screams that people are bigots, narrow-minded and don’t give grace when he is confronted?? I don’t know but it’s an interesting thought. Can we be pharisees about grace missing the meaning entirely? Thanks for this good conversation Jo!


  2. oh I have missed you my dear! I finally was able to post on my own blog, for I got a job! And I am trying to do what all your wonderful, wonderful people do all the time–find my balance. So, this spoke to me, even if not how you may have meant but isn’t that always how it is when I read your wonderful words, it’s like the bible, or hearing the gospel or talking to someone of Faith–I get Word of God and it’s like ‘ yeah’ I needed that!

    You are just that for me, you fill me up, lift my sprit and touch me so thank you!

    So let me say this back to you….

    The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14



    1. Traci!! SO good to hear from you! Thank you for quoting the words of the verse back to me. That was too perfect. And more than that for your lovely affirmation. Hugs right back at you!


  3. “Grace accused me of being legalistic and literal, mean and hard”. At first read I thought this was a person named Grace and how ironic that she would behave so ungraciously.

    But I did wonder: what are your definitions of “grace” and “truth?” Because it seems to me that they go together and one cannot exist without the other.


    1. Exactly the conclusion I came to as well Elena. You can’t have one without the other and the dilemma comes when they travel solo. Hey I just finished a book I think you would love! It’s called an uncommon correspondence and looks at “matters of the heart” love, intimacy, relationships through the letters of two professors- one British
      and the other Indian. So much to think about.


    1. It’s more than tactless, I think. Truth can’t even be received without grace. If truth is something imposed from the outside –like justice– that’s problematic for grace. But if truth is something that arises from within us, then grace can serve it in such a way that we can take it in.


  4. I so get this! Since my by-line is “where grace and truth reside” — it’s a tension we must keep, but as you eloquently point out, it’s not easy!


    1. It’s one of the things I love about your blog Amy; what drew me to it (along with the cross-cultural connection) that it is a place that mirrors its title. Thank you!


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