“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2
Paul told us to be imitators of Jesus, becoming more like Him throughout our lives as we understand and know Him more. One way we can be like Jesus in our relationships is to be full of grace and truth with our family, friends and associates.
Being full of truth means confronting sin when we see it. This is not being judgmental, but rather standing firmly on the truth of God’s Word. Confronting sin can be done with love and tempered with wisdom. Confrontation does not have to be lecturing people or reacting in anger. It can be a caring and thoughtful exchange with a friend. “I’m concerned about this thing I see you doing, that it’s not good for you and is doing you harm.” Standing for truth also means we don’t ignore or let slide obvious wrongs and sins within our circle of influence.
Being full of grace means being a person of compassion. This is not letting people simply sit in their wrongs and failures, but lending an understanding hand to help them move out of their sin and toward God. Compassion is looking at those who have real needs, and where possible, meeting those needs in the name of Jesus. It is doing so not expecting anything in return, but simply valuing the individual because God values them and loves them. Compassion also means when we help people we look for opportunities for them to provide their own means in the future so that in their self-sufficiency they can also help others.
God, help me to be a person of both conviction and compassion. In conviction, help me to speak the truth in love, and develop the kinds of close friendships that allow me to be an influence toward Christ in the lives of others. In compassion, help me to be open to and see the needs of others and allow me to meet those needs with love, care, and concern. In Jesus’ name, Amen.