I never realized tuning a guitar had such complicated principles behind it! Of course, my tonal ability ranks with a paramecium, or likely lower, but this site, one that described how the right tension is set for a guitar string, based on the type of guitar, the style of playing, the diameter of the string, the amplitude of vibration and more, amazed me with the technical details. To summarize it, though, the correct and appropriate tension on a string allows beautiful music to be played by an excellent guitarist. But proper tuning requires two fixed points, the tuners and the tailpiece, connected by the string. If you want to confirm this, check out frudua.com/guitar_strings_tension.htm.
Following Jesus compares to that--we must accept the tension between the consequences of sin and the forgiveness of grace. I heard a marvelous message today on how Jonah reveals the "relentless grace of God." Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian Empire, built a reputation for wickedness (Jonah 1:3), and God in grace forgave them when they acknowledged their sin and made changes, "And God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion" (Jonah 3:10). We followers of God, who often become judgmental and critical of our opponents, need to hear this. It's true, and it's biblical. Grace permeates our lives, and that's good, because the best of us sin with too much regularity. If we accept God's grace in our own lives, then we should extend it to others. That grace represents one fixed end; the guitar string represents our spiritual life.
But the consequences of choosing sin, the other fixed point at the opposite end of the string, create the necessary tension for spiritual art to emerge. Why did God send Jonah to Nineveh? Because he loved those sinners and didn't want them to face the consequences of their evil, "Jonah...proclaimed: 'Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.' The Ninevites believed God...and he had compassion and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened" (Jonah 3:4-5, 10). This also is true, and biblical.
When we choose to stay away from God, or sin, negative consequences come. God's grace always hovers nearby, but we need to choose it. Hence, the tension. Sin is serious, but God offers a way out. Belief and changing.
These two almost contradict one another, don't they? But the tension they bring, together, when we realize both are true and craft our lives to express that, lets us vibrate in harmony with God and others who realize those truths. Focus on just grace, and our behavior becomes loose. Focus juston the consequences of sin, and guilt overwhelms us.
Kick Starting the Application
o you lean toward one of these or the other? What in your life might have influenced that? Teachings, family, experiences? Do you struggle with integrating both of them into your connection to Christ? Why? If you minimize one, how can you come to a greater balance of the tension between the truthfulness of both? Do you have someone you can discuss this with?