Leading doesn’t happen effectively just by a cognitive understanding of who we are and how we lead. As leaders, intentionally growing emotionally is critical to our health and fruitfulness over time.

Jesus came full of grace and truth (John 1:14-17). Henry Cloud in his book, Changes that Heal, describes the environment most conducive for growth is a community that experiences grace and truth over time.

Cloud writes, “Grace is the unmerited favor of God toward His people. Grace is unconditional love and acceptance. Grace is something we have not earned and do not

Grace is about acceptance in a relationship where one person can say to another: “I will accept you! You can be honest with me about your weaknesses and sin, because we are both objects of grace. Righteousness comes from Jesus alone. I have no right to judge you….You are safe.”

Cloud also says, “Truth is what is real. It describes how things really are.” In other words, truth allows for a person in community to lovingly engage with another.

In healthy community you will often hear phrases like:

  • “I observe this sinful pattern in you. I love you. This is bringing destruction to you and the world around you.”
  • “This choice is not worthy of you. It doesn’t make sense in light of who you are as a righteous and loved child of God.”
  • “God has made you for more.”
  • “Holiness and freedom are married to one another.”
  • “I want you to be free to be all that God has made you to be.”

People are transformed by the truth—by what is real, combined with grace. Remember the woman caught in adultery? (John 8:2-11) After all was said and done, what did Jesus do? He said, “Then neither do I condemn you.” (grace) “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (truth) The combination of grace and truth allows for people in communities to say to one another: “I am fully for you. Because of that, can I be honest with you about something I am observing about you?”

What would a high-grace, high-truth environment look like in your community? Do you think that your primary communities are full of high-grace and high-truth? Why or why not? Do you think people know how to have grace and truth conversations? Do you think communities among your generation are higher in grace or higher in truth? Why?

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