Passion is a beautiful thing. It has driven people to do things that otherwise might not be possible or even considered. It has led to the bettering of humanity, communities, families, diseases, and so forth. It’s real and it can be so alive in a person’s soul that it inspires them to radically make a difference in the world around them.
Passion feeds the homeless, clothes the naked, baptizes the sinner, loves the broken, fights the battle, rescues the wounded, and is the driving force behind so many GOOD things. For me, it was part of the driving force behind a measly group of college kids loving “unlovable” folks by doing life with them. It was part of what drove me to pursue my degree, marry my husband, start a family, and write. Passion has done a lot of good things. But, it has also gotten me into trouble.
Often times I find that when something weighs heavily on my heart, I speak out boldly and unapologetically because I want the truth to be heard, to be known. My husband would even tell you that if we are talking and something comes up that I feel strongly about, my voice magically (and unbeknownst to me) raises a few notches. He often asks me to quiet down so not to wake our daughter, or the neighbors down the road, all while I stare at him as if he is senseless. “My voice is not THAT loud. It couldn’t have raised THAT much. Surely I would have noticed.” I think to myself.
Passion has left me speaking up and speaking out about things when I thought surely the truth needed to be shared, regardless of the damage that it would do. For me a lot of the time, I could replace the word passion with the word conviction. When my heart is heavy about something, when I’m convicted about something, I often times assume that others’ hearts should also be heavy about it. Other “Good people” should also be convicted.
I struggle a great deal with seeing injustices going undiscussed. I hate to see leadership in abuse of power or people. I hate to see individuals that know right from wrong choosing wrong because it’s easier, feels better, or is less controversial. At times, this has caused me to speak the truth and sometimes without reservation.
While speaking in truth is important, I have also realized that speaking the truth is messy. It comes with ridicule and a lot of the time it offends people. Relationships with loved ones can get complicated, I can be seen as a know-it-all, and even some people may lose respect for me. At times, I wrestle with this because my intentions are good. I don’t have intentions of hurting anyone or pushing people further away from the truth and I hate to see that sometimes passion can do that.
Because of that, I sometimes find myself swinging drastically to the other side to ease some of the hurt or pain that can take place from speaking truth. I find myself constantly reminding my heart that grace is also important. “Jen, have grace when you see a brother stumbling. Instead of speaking up about their actions, show grace, be kind, don’t abandon them when others do” I think. “Instead of fighting for the injustices you see in the world around you, avoid it because speaking up is messy. Don’t pick a side because that leaves the person who opposes the issue feeling hopeless and alone and you should choose grace, not sides” I think.
I often find myself feeling complacent and like that side of the pendulum is just as unproductive as the “speak truth always” side feels. I’m learning a lesson. A hard lesson. But both sides of the pendulum ARE unproductive if you cannot find a way to intertwine the two. You cannot just speak truth and forget that grace is what allows healing and restoration. You cannot just show grace and forget that truth is what sets us free. There is a middle ground somewhere in there and I truly believe it is LOVE. This is a theme that seems to be everywhere in my life lately. I’m sure for a good reason. The Bible tells us that when we speak truth in love that we are at our most effective as a body. It also says that even Jesus came full of grace AND truth.
My trouble with love, is that it’s the perfect combination of both grace and truth. It’s what we’re called to do and to be in the lives of those around us, and that’s hard. Hard because were called to love our enemy, hard because we are called to love those that have hurt us, and hard because it’s even sometimes difficult to show it to those closest to us.
It’s not easy to balance truth and grace, but my hope is that in love I can express my passions and convictions. They are there because they are important. They are there because some battles need fought. They are there because sometimes choosing a side is indeed necessary, but so is siding in love. It is only through grace and truth combined with love that the body will be at it’s fullest.