God’s people find themselves in a tension of virtues from which we will not be relieved. However, as the tension on the kite gives it the ability to remain aloft, so this tension of virtues keeps The Church at her best, especially in regard to engagement with the surrounding culture.
The church is sent into the world as Christ was sent into the world (John 17). And immediately here’s the tension; Jesus’ ministry was redemptive, welcoming and compassionate. It was also godly, transformative and uncompromising. The worst of sinners were sought for and received gladly; yet, this reception was intended to transform that life into a life pleasing to God, freed from sinful habits, by the unmerited gift and enablement of grace.
Counterbalancing virtues - where one weighs against the other so that one or the other does not exert overmuch influence. All compassion, not countered with biblical mandates to godliness would result in a milquetoast gospel having no power to change a life. Conversely, rigid righteousness without the softening embrace of mercy is an austere, glowering gospel without attraction.
Here’s the Word; “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ…” Ephesians 4:15. Truth - often to our ungodly nature uncomfortable, contrary and unequivocal, is balanced with love - affection, benevolence, caring deeply and authentically. Also this from Psalm 85:10 “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” Mercy and truth together, righteousness a companion with peace.
To the unchurched, even to those hostile to the position of biblical Christians, please be open minded enough to realize that there are some positions about which we simply cannot give ground. And yet, we can hold those and care, and show compassion and live with all at peace.
To the Church, please realize that extremes in any virtue is not the position God takes. Weakness where God is strong is not compassion, and harshness where God is merciful is not righteousness.
The right mix of all virtues is possible when we allow God to have His way.