“Truth is only understandable if spoken with understanding love.” (Ann VosKamp) So Christ spoke the Truth that He had come to save His people from their sins in the only language we could understand: pure Love, poured out red from hands and feet… so we could see it, touch it, share the agony of death with the immortal Creator. “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people–an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.” (Luke 22:20) The stuff of life that He made to flow through our veins from the beginning, spilled out from His own to wash away our brokenness. Love shouted with His dying breath, “Father, forgive them!” and we saw it with our own eyes, written in flesh and blood and dirt…a language we could understand.
And as we follow in His footsteps, I see this, that if we want to speak Truth into a deaf world, we will have to use the language of love that understands pain, knows betrayal and confusion, plumbs the depths of repentance and grace. What good is it if we are plastic-perfect saints, all clean cut and smiling, the kind of people whose ducks know how to line up straight and tall? That is not a language that makes any intelligible sense to the dying, though it does make us feel a whole lot better about how far we have come.
Someone said in our Small Group how shocked they were to see the people in the Bible as they really were, pulled out of the prim pastel Sunday School pictures and into the real world of sweat and grime and sin. And I thought how it really is shocking to confront our humanity in all its grittiness, and maybe we have lost the sense of who we are in our modern world. Covered as we are in this veneer of wealth and education and civility. Underneath it all, we are still humans created out of dirt, run-aways fighting for survival in a world that no longer bows to our rule, people just trying to meet the deepest emotions and needs of our hearts any way we can. We may as well admit it, because that is the Truth and where we will find Someone who can help.
We have come a long way in scientific explanations and technological conveniences and polite ways to express our conflicts, but maybe we are not better off for the masks. Truth makes more sense to people if it is whispered from someone who labors alongside and weeps with them. Truth rings loud and strong coming from the wounded and the weak, from marriages in process and parents looking for wisdom…from people who need God just as much as everyone else in the world. And maybe it’s okay that sometimes we can’t even find our ducks, if it helps us use the plain and simple language of love to tell people the Truth that Jesus is the Savior of us all.
“Everyone needs compassion,
A love that’s never-ending–
Let mercy fall on me .
Everyone needs forgiveness,
The kindness of a savior,
The hope of nations…
My God is mighty to save.” (Mighty to Save, Hillsong)
“One reason we do not understand holiness is that we do not understand grace. The ultimate degree to which holiness flows through your life will depend…on your willingness to yield to the nature of God in humble surrender. You possess no holiness apart from God.” (Russell Kelfer)