Speaking Truth with Grace

By Ps Ho Wei Liang

How can Christians uphold the truth of God’s Word without coming across as judgemental and offensive? After all, we are called to live out the truth. How can we approach our broader culture—one which rejects God’s ways—with God’s truth and its implications? And in a manner which seeks to convict rather than antagonise? As the late Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias says, “If truth isn’t undergirded by love, it makes the possessor of that truth obnoxious and the truth repulsive.”  

The Gospel of John 1:14 says, “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.” Grace and truth go together; they do not contradict. In all he does, Jesus was always gracious and truthful. So must His followers.

We can begin by remembering that the essence of the Gospel is summed up in God’s love for the world (John 3:16) and that the challenge of maintaining a faithful witness for Christ is often an art rather than a science. Because we live in a multicultural and pluralistic society, our friends and neighbours are far more likely to respond to winsome dialogue than dogmatic proclamation. We should strive to approach them as individuals with particular values and views, faithfully “speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). Yet, may our speech “always be gracious, seasoned with salt” (Col. 4:6). This applies not only to our face-to-face interactions but also in all forms of our online exchanges with others.

Jesus not only speaks the truth and with grace, but his every action embodies truth and grace. Accordingly, those who belong to Him bear His image through both their words and actions (James 2:17-18). As Christians (literally “little Christs”), we have to not only patiently demonstrate, by our own actions and words, that truth which convicts, but also that grace which extends God’s love, forgiveness and restoration. 

Let us then pray diligently that the Holy Spirit will first apply His words to our hearts that we may fully and equally present His truth and grace. Let us also pray for the Spirit to guide us with divine wisdom in engaging the broader culture, showing them “the God who made the world and everything in it” (Acts 17:24a).