We spoke this past weekend about the law of contradiction. Two concepts which are presented as absolutes yet they exclude the other cannot both be true. The sovereignty of God is an absolute and our free will is true but only within the boundaries set by God. We do not have the ability to change reality.
Yet we also spoke of the law of contrariety. This law states that seemingly opposite things can have great elements of truth to them that blends them together in reality. That is how law and grace exist side by side. Mercy and justice are compatible parts of God's economy as well. They feel like they can't both be true but they make perfect sense together.
Now let's look at this in the life of Jesus. People who were living sinful lives but looking for hope felt comfortable with Jesus. He talked straight to them, acknowledging the effects of the decisions they had made but let them know there was a way to a new life. He had not come to condemn but to save. But salvation meant that people needed to face up to the decisions they had made, repent, and turn to Him. His offer to everyone is to deny yourself, take up your cross (make tough decisions to say "no" to ungodly things and "yes" to God's way) and follow Him. That is the core of the Gospel.
Our church is a place of loving welcome to all who are seeking and struggling. But we will always speak the truth in love in pointing people to Christ. When challenged to change, and turn to Christ, some will say we are legalistic or judgmental. Not so. We love and spur each other on to Christ, helping each other along on the journey. We all will be uncomfortable at times. That is what truth does when we have to face ourselves. But the love of Christ will always be the dominating atmosphere in which we live.
Truth and love, mercy and justice, are powerful components of the character of Christ as expressed in and through His people. A healthy family holds all these traits in consistent tension. That is the life of a healthy church as well. And this pursuit is one we will never give up on.