Jesus maintained the tension of present pain and future glory without falling into our trite sayings (see last post). It is humbling to read how Christ approached life. We all err when it comes to the balance between truth and love. My natural state is to emphasize truth and come across as heartless or dispassionate. Others exhibit so much heart that they seem to disregard all truth. Christ did neither.
Jesus, the Word, was and is love. Notice John's phrasing in I John 4:8:
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
Again in verse 16 of the same chapter:
And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
He does not say that God is loving. He is love. I have not done a thorough study of this yet, but this distinction is significant. The only other case of this usage that I have found is uniquely connected. Christ, the friend of sinners, pulled no punches when it came to truth. He maintained the tension which makes sense considering that the Spirit of God is truth (I John 5:6) and is also the Spirit of Christ. (I Pet. 1:11 and Rom. 8:9)(See #1.)
Jesus not only maintained the tension between truth and love, but He demonstrated the cost of sin in His preaching (and of course supremely on the cross), while reminding us of a brighter day when all things would be made new. It is this unchecked honesty that is so beautiful. He never belittles one who is suffering. He does not cast aside the downtrodden. Nor does He excuse sin. He does not assume a pleasantly perfect Christian life, but He presents one that is difficult, costly, and often filled with pain. Yet He promises to not only be with us in the dark nights, but because of what He did so many years ago, He is going to fix everything.
We must be just as honest about the world and the truth about life as Jesus was.
- I did not include John 14:6, because Christ is speaking about His role and relationship between us and the Father, not His eternal and unchanging nature.