(Jimmy’s Minions found their way to the manger. LOL.)
I’m an Enneagram Nine. Usually described as a peacemaker; one who avoids conflict. Talk to my husband and he’ll tell you this is for sure true. For better or worse. And yet. I heard someone on a podcast once (I can’t tell you now who it was) who said something about how a Nine is for peace EXCEPT when this Nine finds a hill to die on.
I have a hill.
I’ve known it for a while. For at least fifteen years, since back in the day when my boys were young and God showed me what I’ve come to call my P’s. You know what I mean if you’ve been following along. Performance. Perfection. Pride. Those guys. And when God in His mercy went to battle and killed those guys off, I took to my hill. Never again. I’m not going back.
Lately I’ve been intrigued by a conversation that’s come up a number of times. Different contexts and different perspectives, folks who are talking about TRUTH and GRACE. And for all these years I would have probably told you my HILL was the hill of Grace. Until lately. Because just lately I’ve noticed this thing called Truth has been making its way up my hill, too, and it’s not what I would have expected.
A quick explanation. Truth and Grace is a churchy topic. It comes up often and usually in the context of “Are you more truth or grace?” And of course we know Jesus was fully both. We’re always quick to point this out. And if we’re to be honest, we’ve defined these two as opposites. Think Bad Cop/Good Cop. Truth is the hard side; grace is soft. Truth tells you what you should and shouldn’t be doing. Grace gets you off of the hook. That’s how we usually think. I think.
But then last Sunday I had a lightbulb. I’ve always suspected GRACE is something other than how we tend to define it. But on Sunday it struck me. This is also true about TRUTH.
We were singing when I had my lightbulb moment, and now I realize it happened on purpose. Yesterday at a staff meeting at church, sitting directly across from our new worship pastor, Jeremy said something like this. My job is not to lead people into God’s presence. That’s way too much pressure. My job is to lead them to Truth. Which is EXACTLY what happened to me on Sunday.
Every song, from the first to the last, had me thinking THIS IS TRUTH. These songs.
I am chosen
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am*
And that’s just one of a whole lineup of truth-telling songs. My friend Julia was singing her heart out and I tell you for sure, this gal KNOWS THE TRUTH.
Lost are saved, find their way, at the sound of Your great name
All condemned, feel no shame, at the sound of Your great name
Every fear, has no place, at the sound of Your great name
The enemy, he has to leave, at the sound of Your great name…**
And I’m thinking there’s no Bad Cop here. No bad news whatsoever, because, this is The Truth, as in Gospel, which is only Good News, and THIS. IS. MY. HILL.
This is truthandgrace, and I’m beginning to see they’re not opposites at all, but one flesh so-to-speak, and we can’t have one without the other. It’s what I said to the 5th graders and their parents two Fridays ago at our Gala at church. Don’t forget who you are – because your identity in Christ is all the Truth you need and you don’t need people filling your head with all kinds of lies.
Don’t mess with me when I’m on this hill.
This week I’ve been grieving over something I can’t write about here, but I think I know the source of my anguish. This long journey away from those false truths that wreck and divide us. We give ourselves to lesser truths and in the process we lose sight of the only TRUTH that matters. This TRUTH is Good News, and GRACE is the secret sauce that makes it real. (Jesus does for us what we can’t do for ourselves, is the way I like to say it.) And I tell you this with determination. I’m not going back. Not now or not ever.
NOT LEAVING THIS HILL.
*Who You Say I Am, Hillsong Worship
**Your Great Name, Natalie Grant