Truths in tension

There is a paradox in the Christian faith not often talked about. Two fundamental truths are in tension. The first truth is that God loves us, and identifies with us where we are. The second truth is that God is not content with how we live now, but wants us to do better.

If we focus just on God's love, we accept personal mediocrity or even dysfunction in our lives. Or if we focus just on God's standard of behavior, we set up an impossible standard of perfection that no one can measure up to, and present God as distant and forbidding.

We need to keep both in mind. God accepts us where we are, but then seeks to help us to improve. We shouldn't think we have to change before God can be pleased with us. We also shouldn't think we don't need to change, because we do.

I think Micah 6:8 reflects this paradox:
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

"To act justly" focuses on God's standard of behavior. "To love mercy" focuses on His acceptance of us where we are. Both are needed to walk humbly and fruitfully with our God.

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