Welcome to week 6 of the 10 week ProGrace experience. If you’re just joining us, be sure to check out the first posts: Start a Conversation, Continue the Conversation, Grace Overcomes Shame, Grace and Forgiveness and Shame and Scarcity.
“But what about grace and truth?” asked one of the participants in our 2-hour ProGrace workshop. It was one of our first workshops, but it was probably the tenth time I’d received that question while trying to explain the ProGrace approach. I never really knew the best way to answer, so being a bit flustered this time I breathed silently to God, “What should I say?”
Immediately, another question I had never thought about entered my mind. I took a chance that it was from God and blurted it out. “Based on what we’ve just heard that a woman is experiencing with an unplanned pregnancy, what truth would you tell her first?”
The participant thought about it for just a moment and then said confidently, “I’d tell her that God loves her.”
Wow. That sealed it for me. Then I really believed that the question had come from God. And I’ve been thinking about it ever since.
The question contains two parts:
- Which truth to say
- When to say it
Next week, we will look at when to tell truth, and the order of how Jesus so often communicates. But this week, we will camp out on the idea of which truth to tell someone. In my experience, when people ask about grace and truth, their definition of “truth” usually means telling the truth to someone about their sin.
Because of that, our exercise this week revolves around another question: What truths do you think God is preoccupied with?
Does He spend most of his time thinking and speaking about sin? Or is He preoccupied with His plans?
- Plans to bring hope and a future
- Plans to do exceedingly, abundantly beyond all we ask or imagine
- Plans to introduce people to His radical love that sent Jesus to the cross
The Bible is full of His promises. Truths about His love, faithfulness, forgiveness, gentleness, comfort, protection, friendship. The sheer number of promise verses where God tells us how He feels about us, relates to us and plans to partner with us cause me to think He is preoccupied with His plans. He passionately hates sin because it gets in the way of His goodness and threatens to destroy us.
So ask God to give you a verse that shows what truth He is thinking about you right now. (When I do this exercise, if a phrase pops into my mind and I don’t know the reference, I Google it and find out where it is. Then I usually look it up in my Bible, write it down, and pray it back to Him.) Take some time just to sit with Him and absorb this truth that He’s thinking about you.
How do you feel toward God after that exercise? Do you want to run out and sin? Or draw closer to Him? Every time I understand more of God’s heart toward me, I melt a bit inside, and sin loses more of its power over me.
Wouldn’t this be the same for a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy? How many truths does God want to pour out over her to silence the shame and judgment that is coming from every direction?
Of course we also will at some point need to talk about the truth of the sin. And we will talk about that next week. But our first priority is to be preoccupied with what God is preoccupied with. And listen to the still small voice that asks, “What truth does she need to hear first?”
My prayer is that we will hear God, agreeing with Him and His truths about who she is and how He feels toward her. Because if we do, we will impart truth that can ignite hope. And that hope can make a world of difference for her and her child.