When Carol Dweck was in the sixth grade, her teacher sat her and fellow students in rows, according to their IQ scores. The children who didn’t have high IQs were not allowed to carry the flag during assembly or wash the black board. Carol occupied the first seat, but she thinks it might have been just as uncomfortable for those in the last seats—you see, “you were only as good as your last test score…” she remembers.
Fifty years later, Carol Dweck, Stanford professor of psychology, would revolutionize the way educators think about intelligence and potential. Her studies revealed that what determined the degree of success for a child, was not their IQ or their talent--but what they believed about what they could become. That’s a fast and dirty summary of Dweck’s best-selling book called Mindset. It’s also a great example of how powerful revolutions come from insiders who knew along that something needed to be made right.
Pastor Wayne shared about one such revolution this past Sunday in our third of the series on Calvary’s core values: Grace and Truth. The revolutionary was Jesus. John 1:14-17 explains that He came in grace and truth (17), a mixture of two forces that complement one another in such a way that you cannot have one without the other.
When truth and grace come together
Some churches and people are truth oriented, fixed on standards or boundaries. John 1:17 compares this mindset to the Law—which defines our limitations. These people are only half right.
We have inherited a “sin IQ.” Truth-oriented people rightly know that our nature is fixed. No matter how hard we try, we can’t overcome it by ourselves. Jesus, however, was the insider who knew something needed to be made right.
The book of John calls Him the “Word.” That means that Jesus himself is truth. But He “became” something else for us—human. He became truth embodied in grace.
When truth requires accountability for your bad behavior; grace is right there, offering forgiveness for your failure. When truth sets a boundary around you, making you feel far from God; grace shows the pathway that is forged to the Father on your behalf. When truth magnifies your brokenness and failure; grace manages your restoration and your worthiness.
How grace and truth change you
It’s not that truth is ever overlooked. Jesus minced no words about the sinful woman in Luke 7. Her sins were many, he said—but they were forgiven by grace.
Receiving grace does something to you.
“Those who are forgiven much (given much grace), love much.”
People who recklessly embrace the grace because they know they are pardoned, are people who know they can become something more. You must have both--you can't be pardoned unless you accept the pardon (grace). You can't be pardoned unless you know you need to be (truth).
Without grace and truth, love isn't love--and we aren't like Jesus. But with both, we become like Him.
Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you.”
Like the students in Carol Dweck’s class—how “successful” you will be in carrying out the command to love others does not depend on your last spiritual test score. What you believe about grace and truth does.
To listen to the audio of Pastor Wayne’s sermon on Grace and Truth go to here.