The first step in addressing sin in the church is a principle I heard explained in a service I attended last Sunday night. It is the ‘Grace-Truth’ principle. We see Christ applying this with the woman caught in adultery in John 8.
As the woman was brought to Him, he didn’t apply ‘black & white’ truth right away. He came first with grace. After writing in the sand, He said, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” As her accusers leave one by one, He then brings truth. He asks her where her accusers are and challenges her to “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
The problem we see in the Church today is too many pastors feel this need to defend truth, so they beat “sinners” over the head with it. Truth doesn’t need a defense. It is a constant. Our goal as pastors is not to defend truth, but rather to help individuals apply truth. In understanding that, truth is applied best as a person willingly opens the door of their life to it. Coming first with grace allows a person to see you’re actually concerned with their well-being. It causes them to willingly open that door and allow you to bring truth.
This is an approach of compassion rather than religion. If you desire to be a ‘religious leader’, always lead with truth. Make it loud, obnoxious and blunt. But if you desire to show Christ’s love and compassion to people. If you long to be a ‘Christ-follower’, leading others to the same transformational life you’ve experienced. Lead with grace.