I began my career with InterVarsity in 1981. I’d like to share some personal and ministry observations from a 40-year viewpoint.
A few years ago a college student accused me of lacking in compassion. She may have been right.
Navigating my way through the events of that moment, I remember walking a tightrope between truth and compassion, and truth won out.
To my thinking the gospel isn’t about compassion per se, that is, compassion by itself. It’s about grace and truth.
And yet, many young people on campus are committed to compassion as an endpoint. Compassion tends to win out over any other value.
The first chapter of John’s Gospel paints a somewhat different picture. Here we learn that the Son of God is “full of grace and truth.” And in John 14, Jesus describes himself as “the truth.” In 1 John 4 we read that “God is love.”
Ephesians 5 bids us to “speak the truth in love.”
I’m looking for balance: a balance between something subjective and heart-felt on the one hand, and something objective and solid on the other.
The biblical balance is right down the middle: grace AND truth (or, love AND truth. Either will do.).
It could be argued that grace without truth is mere sentimentality. And truth without grace is legalism. A mistake can be made on either side.
Back to the student’s remark about my lacking in compassion . . . I took it to heart. Compassion really is a necessary part of grace in the ministerial balance. May it be so of me, Lord Jesus.