Barry Corey is the president of Biola University. In an interview he said that Christians should have “soft edges and firm centres.”*
Kind of like a peach!
The firm centre is our firm beliefs. We are strong and confident in the resurrected Jesus and God’s word.
The soft edges refer to our loving and compassionate dealings with others as the hands and feet of Jesus.
Unfortunately, we can be some other combination of these two things. We can have firm centres, but also firm edges, meaning that we may have strong and confident beliefs, but don’t show or share the love of Jesus.
Or we can have soft edges, but also soft beliefs (i.e. wishy-washy beliefs), meaning that we show some version of love and compassion, but don’t know what we actually believe, if anything.
I’ve observed something over the years. When Christians feel criticized, under attack, or marginalized, they can lose balance and drift to one of these two extremes. They get firm on the outside or mushy on the inside. Perhaps they feel that getting defensive or just blending in will immunize them from what they’re feeling.
But a better and more biblical way forward is always maintaining the balance of firm beliefs and a loving manner.
What about you? Where do you need to grow?
Do you need to be more strong and confident in your beliefs? Or do you need to be more loving and compassionate in your dealings with others?
John 1:14 says that Jesus came “full of grace and truth.” Grace AND truth. Not just one or the other, but both.
May that also be true for you and me.
Firm centres and soft edges—no matter what.
By Matthew Ruttan
–“Coping with our broken illusion of control.” That’s my latest blog and you can read it here.
–*As quoted in: David Kinnaman & Gabe Lyons, Good Faith: Being a Christian When Society Thinks Your Irrelevant and Extreme (Grand Rapids: BakerBooks, 2016), 232.
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.