Balancing Grace and Truth at Work

by | Oct 12, 2022

One of my favorite descriptions of Jesus is John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” 

Jesus was full of both grace and truth. He wasn’t 50% grace and 50% truth. He was 100% grace and 100% truth. He always had exactly the right balance in his response to people and situations. But this perfect balance doesn’t come natural to us in this world and so we must act with intention and purpose when seeking to respond with both grace and truth. 

And though the reality is that we cannot be both 100% grace and 100% truth, we should always strive to be both. Like an airplane needs both wings to stay balanced, you need both grace and truth just the same. 

Grace without truth may look like:

  • Ignoring when a teammate is doing an important task wrong or missing steps in a crucial process. 
  • Not speaking up in a meeting when an idea is pitched simply because the one who pitched it was a supervisor or above you on the ladder.

Grace is what people long for, even those who don’t know Jesus – especially those who don’t know Jesus. But when you put an emphasis on grace alone, your workplace culture can dissipate into a shallow and sentimental foundation where justice or truth is discarded.  

When you have truth without grace:

  • Your workplace will breed harshness at best and self-righteous legalism at worst. 
  • You may hear (or say) things like: 
    • “Your ideas and opinions are wrong.” 
    • “We’ve never done it that way.” 
    • “You’re not doing it right. 
    • “That’s not my problem.”

When we communicate this way, we are often lacking concern for another’s feelings. People become frightened, like deer caught in the headlights of man-made rules. Long lists and long faces turn people from Christ. Putting a focus only on truth can devolve into a cold, hardened philosophy.  

Balanced communication may sound like, “I see your thinking and work effort, but I think your ideation may be leading you down the wrong track and I don’t want you to fail on this project. How can I help guide your thinking and/or planning to help lead you to great success?” 

And then, just when we think we’ve got it right… our plane hits turbulence. 

Turbulence comes in many forms, but we often experience it through conflict, disorder, or confusion and in each stormy moment, we must remember the importance of keeping grace and truth balanced. Take pause, return to your cockpit, assess the external forces (grace and truth) and make a calculated decision on which internal forces need to be adjusted to balance our plane once again. 

Keeping all of this in mind, here are some questions you can use when evaluating where your plane is leaning: 

  • Have your employees voiced their disagreement or hesitation about an idea recently (perhaps this week)? 
  • Are your meetings filled with equally balanced discussion? 
  • Is there discussion or silence after presentations from the management or leadership? 
  • Do your employees quickly and genuinely apologize to one another when they say or do something inappropriate or possibly damaging?
  • Can your employees openly admit their weakness and mistakes?

In this stormy and divisive era, we need more Christ-followers who will make an effort to be full of grace and truth. And if we speak and relate to people the way Jesus did, whether in our homes, in our churches, or at work, we can be a source of comfort, growth and encouragement to others.   

God, thank You for being full of grace and truth. Help me to live in a way that shows both grace and truth to those around me. Help me to avoid being dishonest, not confronting sin as one who is all grace. And help me not to be bitter, judgmental, or unloving, as one who is all truth. May both truth and grace be balanced in my life in a way that truly reflects the character of Jesus. In His name I pray, Amen. 

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Jessica Simms

Jessica joined the Workmatters team in July of 2021. She was born and raised in New Jersey and lived in Louisiana and Texas before finding her home in Arkansas in 2019. Jessica is an avid Razorback fan and has twin daughters, Austin and Kendall. She is also a member of Cross Church-Fayetteville and is a WMI-Arkansas alumna.