A former seminary friend (though fortunately he’s not a former friend) and youth pastor in our presbytery recommended a book to me called TrueFaced. Since its co-written by John Lynch (I know its not the football player, but like George Costanza, I still think its cool), I quickly ordered it off amazon.com.
The gist of the book is that our justification before God ought to make us be more open, honest, and real people before Him and others. I’ve enjoyed it so far, and am about 2/3 of the way in. And I recommend it you, understanding that if the last third is repulsive I may recant.
In a particular part of the book, Lynch and his men contend that we ought to be willing to trust others more deeply without the constant fear of them letting us down. We are to let others love us despite their imperfect attempts. But he does so in a way that doesn’t allow relationships to become idols.
“Will others meet our needs perfectly and will we trust perfectly?
No. This is the Room of Grace, remember? Grace is the face
love wears when it meets imperfection.”
I love that sentence. Maybe it’s the wording. Maybe it’s the concept. Maybe it’s both. We are constantly dealing with people who are imperfect, who are not trustworthy. So as soon as you or I commit to love another, it automatically must become gracious (independent of their deserving it), or it won’t be a commitment for very long. And I guess it wouldn’t have been love either.
This doesn’t exclude the need for ‘tough love’ of course or the need to call people to repentance. Instead it is a good reminder to me that love and manipulation really have nothing to do with one another. And yet my ‘love’ is often manipulative-based upon what you bring to ‘my ball club.’ So I guess I need Jesus to work on my “Grace Face.”