Mercy and Truth

By Douglas Glada

Proverbs 3:3, 4 – Let not mercy and truth forsake you, bind them about your neck; write them upon the tablet of your heart. So shall you find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.

      God’s Word consistently brings us back to our responsibility. The pendulum, that swings between those who stress the sovereignty of God and those who stress the free will of man, is always brought back to the middle. Of course, God is sovereign in that He is in ultimate control but, obviously, He is not in control of all my daily choices. A quick inventory of the food I ate, and the words I spoke this week, may be an enlightening example.

      Mercy and truth are to be closely united in our lives. Most of us identify with one or the other, but a delicate balance between them is to be maintained. Those who are motivated by mercy simply desire to bring relief from suffering and hardship wherever they see it; their first thoughts are compassion and concern. Quite often they are misunderstood as being too soft and may be told that they need to practice a more tough kind of love. Those who are motivated by truth, however, tend to be on the other end of that spectrum. They see reasons and causes for the difficulties people find themselves in. They rush to correct and fix the problem, and then insist that people change. These people, likewise, may be misunderstood, in that they may appear judgmental and uncaring, and they are often encouraged to be a little more sensitive to others. 

      The reality is we need the balance of mercy and truth. All of life, whether in the home, the workplace, the school, or the church, necessitates the balanced application of both. Our experience of parenting has taught us that fact. There are times when your children simply need mercy; they need to be drawn into your arms and consoled no matter what has happened or whose fault it is. Conversely, there are times when your children need the application of truth and to be confronted and challenged to change their bad attitude. It is all based on the needs of the child and what is best for him, or her.

      Our verse tells us to not let mercy or truth forsake us, strongly implying that both can get away from us. We are to bind them closely to us and fix them upon our lives. Most Christians do not like the word bind because it sounds like bondage and restriction. However, there is a positive type of binding that fastens these critical elements to us so they can become an essential part of our lives. 

      After we have bound them to our life, we are to write them upon the tablet of our hearts. The picture here is of a stone tablet that can only be inscribed upon by using a chisel. Our English word character comes from a Greek word which means; that which is engraved. The only way to ensure that mercy and truth do not get away from us is to have them inscribed on our inner man, chiselled into the rock inside, thus making them an integral aspect of our character.

      When mercy and truth are activated in our lives it opens the door for God’s favour to be shown. His favour is His pleasure, expressed in acts of kindness. As a parent, you know how great you feel when your children act respectfully and carry themselves well. It pleases you, and when Dad is pleased, among other things, he opens his wallet. Our Heavenly Father has even more to offer and He loves to express His pleasure in giving extraordinary gifts to His children. 

      Someone has once said that if they had favour, wisdom and courage, they could accomplish almost anything. God’s favour isn’t just with Him, but also with other people. Having favour doesn’t mean that everyone will necessarily love you, but that they will do things for you even if they don’t like you, or understand why they are doing it. If you have favour with the right people, all kinds of doors will open wide for you to go through. Friends, as we continue to develop the qualities of mercy and truth, we should also go ahead and start expecting God to open doors of favour and blessing. Thank God for His mercy and truth!

Acquisitions

Proverbs 23:23 – Buy the truth, and sell it not; also, wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

There are real estate investors who tell us that once they acquire land and buildings, they never sell them, because as they increase in value, they can be leveraged to acquire capital for other endeavors. We are being counselled to do something similar, but the investment we are being encouraged to make has ramifications that extend far beyond the temporary buildings of this life into Eternity.

Buy the truth; that is, do whatever it takes to acquire and possess it. Save your energies and resources. Restrain your spending habits and refrain from wasting time and money. Be disciplined and diligent in your pursuit of the truth. Someone might say that money can’t buy the truth, and that is correct, but how we use our money determines what is important to us. Do we consider it wasteful to purchase books, or to attend seminars that offer us valuable knowledge? Do we think it is foolish to give a portion of one’s income and demonstrate generosity to others?

Truth must be purchased for it is not free. Like anything of real worth, there is always a cost associated with it; indeed, someone had to pay a price. Truth does not randomly come to just anyone, in the same way that money does not magically appear for our use. No! Money comes to those who apply the laws surrounding money, such as; discipline, stewardship, generosity and thrift. The truth also, comes to those who utilize the laws of truth, such as; sincerity, faith, diligence and obedience.

When I was thirteen years old, my parents bought me a set of weights for Christmas. I eagerly read all the instructions and information that came with it. One of the things that was emphasized was the fact that once the weights were acquired, they should never be sold. Keep them, it said, even if you lose interest and stop using the weights; keep them; do not sell them, for eventually you will pick them up again. I followed that advice and it proved true, and because I had never sold the weights, they were always available to me when I wanted to get back into exercising.

This is the same principle that we are being told here. Buy the truth and never sell it; never let it leave your life, for even if you have occasional departures and seasons where your interest and discipline might wane, the truth will be there for you as you come around to it again. The reality is that, like the tide, every life has its ebbs and flows, whether they are short or long intervals, every life has them; otherwise, there would be no such thing as a struggle, no need for discipline, and there would be nothing to overcome. Buy the truth and never let it go, and do the same for wisdom, instruction and understanding. Do whatever is necessary to acquire these qualities, develop them and keep them in your life. Be resolute, be determined, and settle this in your heart, my friends, for if you do, the truth of God’s Word will remain in your life and the power of that truth will inevitably prevail, and your life will take on a depth of meaning, satisfaction and fulfillment beyond anything this world can offer.