If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else?  Matthew 5:46-47a

There is a war waging within my heart. I am torn between justice and grace, and both seem to been delicately woven into this tapestry of ambiguous holiness. I don’t know which thread to pull. I don’t know which value to pursue.

There have been several small offenses hammering away at my sense of fairness and integrity. I feel like my foundational values are being attacked; but what is worse, is the feeling that my Christian sisters and brothers are the aggressors.

It’s easy to love those who think like I think and say what I say and do what I do. The challenge is loving the dissenters. I don’t like being wrong. I don’t like being questioned. I don’t like feeling judged. I don’t like admitting my mistakes or being accountable for my failures.

I experience my share of indignation when injustice occurs, especially when it occurs at the hands of Christians or in the name of Jesus. I become incensed and outraged and throw around words like “hypocrisy” and “Pharisee” and even “self-righteous bigot”. But when does one injustice excuse another? When does indignation trump grace? When I repay hate with more hate, is it justified, or does it make me equally guilty?

I am no better than your average Jesus hating Pharisee, who clings to laws and tradition at the cost of grace and redemption. The only difference is the laws and traditions to which I cling. My brothers and sisters in Christ deserve just as much grace as the lost.

That doesn’t mean I ignore their sin or cover their blunders. That doesn’t mean I excuse them from the consequences of their actions or hide the hurt they caused. I should confront sin, just not with more sin.

We are all going to make mistakes. We are all going to do dumb things. Someone is always going to be hurt. No, that isn’t okay, but it’s an unavoidable. The question is, when a hurt occurs, am I going to perpetuate it by separating over differences and starting a war of opinion, speculation, and interpretation, or am I going to move into a realm of grace and healing and try to find solutions by uniting in love? Am I going to pick up stones to aim at my brothers and sisters for their indiscretions, or am I going to pick them up, dust them off, and carry them to the feet of our Savior?