Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Please be guided accordingly

Have you noticed when you try to stop doing something for your own good, often you find yourself going in the opposite direction to an extreme? Or is it just me?

Now I have been trying to stop mothering everyone, giving unsolicited advice. Why, maybe not as much as my daughters would like, but I am trying. But then I find myself giving all grace and no truth. Allowing others to do as they please and never telling them it is foolish, or even how it is hurting you. But this is not good either.

John 1:14 tells us when Jesus came, He was full of grace and truth. He allows us to go our own way, make our own choices, but not without telling us the truth.

In property management, the position I currently find myself in, I have come across this sentence we use in letters to clients: "Please be guided accordingly." We use this phrase at the close of the letter when we have told them the dire consequences they will face if they continue their current foolishness, such as refusing to pay their bills, park their cars in restricted areas or allowing their children to mark the buildings with chalk. We do this, knowing they may ignore the warnings, indeed it is their choice to do so, but consequences are thoughtfully and carefully explained.

I love this phrase because it reminds me of an important truth.

In the rest of life, there are those we are close to and love and out of that love, we need to point out the dire consequences of continuing in foolishness or hurtful behavior. But then let it lie and allow them to make the choices themselves. We release them with the information and pray they will be guided by it.

Maybe that is clear to you, but to me, this is new. I still need to point out foolishness, hurtful choices, especially when I am the one being hurt. I need to give the truth, and then the grace to allow others to make their decisions, yet still love them.

Truth and grace. Together.

Mercy and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed. -- Psalm 85:10