Christianity 201

June 24, 2011

Narrow Truth Handled With Great Grace

The Christian blogosphere appears to stretch out into infinity.  Research a simple phrase on Google Blog Search and you’ll be taken places and introduced to people you would otherwise never get to meet.  I found this article on the site Ralph Howe Ministries.  Step one for me is to check out the individual or organization to determine that I’m not sending my readers to a site or a part of the doctrinal spectrum that is outside the realm of orthodoxy.  Step two is to write an introduction as I’m doing now. 

In this case, it was a seemingly insignificant blog post about reaching out to young people.  But then, toward the end, was the phrase,  “It is important for them to know that in spite of walking in what we believe to be truth, which tends to be very narrow, that we handle these truths with great grace.” 

I had to think about that for a minute.  We’re often seen as narrow because Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through me.”  That, we believe, is truth.  But Mr. Howe suggests we can handle this truth with great grace.  Those words, if you consider them, might change your whole approach in the future. 

Anyway, I liked this enough to include not only the original post I read, but also a second. (Which we don’t usually do here!)  Here’s the first one.

Young people are so important to God and He is moving in very special ways upon the youth of today around the world.

Here in my city I meet with young people every day. They are amazing, always interesting and filled with questions about Jesus and what is happening today in the world and how it all fits with what the Bible states. These are non-Christians. The same is true in every town and city that I travel to – no matter what part of the world I am visiting. These young people and young couples are hungry for reality and an authentic faith that works in the world. A faith that helps them to face a real world and deal with complex issues that they face and feel every day.

In every case these young men and women are simply looking for someone to listen and to understand them – not always agree with them, but willing to listen to their heartbeat. They know when they are being judged and rejected; they know when people are sincere and really caring; they want us to look past the outward appearance and see their hearts. They want to know that we walk in grace and so can accept them for who they are even if we can’t agree with their values, beliefs or lifestyle.

It is important for them to know that in spite of walking in what we believe to be truth, which tends to be very narrow, that we handle these truths with great grace. The narrower the truth the greater the grace needed. We believe that Jesus is the only way to Heaven – very narrow truth that tends not to sound inclusive. So, when talking to the young people who do not believe this we need to extend great grace – loving them, accepting them (who they are and what they believe) and not judging them.

Only after they have experienced great grace through you will they open their hearts and hear what you have to say and what you believe.

Here’s a second (bonus!) post from Ralph Howe which he titled Purpose and Passion:

Many people in life just live life. They exist. They live by putting one foot in front of the other and simply surviving. Jesus promised us life and life abundantly. Just surviving – just making it – plodding along through life and being glad when the day finally comes to an end is not how life is suppose to be lived. You are suppose to grab life by the tail and swing it for all that it is worth. After-all, today is not a dress rehearsal; you don’t get to live today twice. So, give it your full attention and live it with focus and passion.

I often observe how believers seem to be lacking passion for Jesus. I wonder, at times, if it is not simply lacking passion for life. But then passion for life would logically arise out of your passion for Jesus who is the Author of all life. And, believers – born again Christians – have a personal relationship with the Giver of Life and so should not only have tremendous passion for Him but also for His gift of life – daily life.

So,why do people who say they love Jesus apparently lack passion? Good question. A possible answer would be that they have yet to discover God’s true purpose for their life — for who they are as God created them to be — when followed and expressed, will bring passion. Maybe they have also yet to discover what God’s purpose is for them – for this unique individual who is not ‘normal’ but very unique and different than all others on the planet. I believe that when you find your true purpose in life, passion follows. You absolutely live to pursue it.

So, passion for Jesus and for life comes from knowing who you are – the unique ‘you’ God created – and while being ‘you’ finding God’s purpose for ‘you’ and chasing after it with every fiber of your being and giving it your better than best shot. This will be seen as passion and the world is looking for passionate people and will follow those who truly know where they are going and why and are going there with passion and excitement.

~Ralph Howe