Mercy And Truth Mark Perfection
‘Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: Proverbs 3:3’
Mercy and truth mark perfection. It is wonderful when they meet (Ps 85:10). They lead to favor and good understanding with God and men (Pr 3:4). By neglect and sin they are lost, so they must be carefully guarded and applied.
We cannot literally bind mercy and truth about the neck. They are character traits of wisdom and the Holy Spirit and not subject to string, rope, or chains! The metaphor describes tight attachment to a person’s outward life. Neither can we literally write them upon the table of the heart. Another metaphor describes committing them to our affection and memory. Wise men are dedicated to mercy and truth on the inside and outside.
Mercy and truth appear to be opposites, but it is their combination that makes a man perfect. Mercy is that gentle, forgiving, gracious, and overlooking trait of noble men, who gladly take personal injury rather than fight or hurt someone in their power. Truth is the stubborn commitment to whatever is honest and right, regardless of cost. Together they balance each other gloriously, resulting in the gentle and honest life of a true saint.
Parent, children should be taught to love mercy. It is your duty to teach them the glory of forgiving and overlooking personal offences. Kindness and tenderheartedness should be emphasized. You should teach them to love their enemies, as our Lord and Stephen did. Sibling rivalry will create almost daily opportunities for your lessons. Mercy does not tolerate unjustified anger, envy, hatred, malice, railing, whispering, and similar sins. Teach tender compassion toward all men.
Parent, children should be taught to love truth. It is your duty to teach them the final authority of God’s Word and the glory of perfect honesty and integrity in all their dealings. Absolute honesty is a wonderful thing. Lying in any form should be punished severely. Truth does not tolerate exaggeration, hypocrisy, lying, slandering, and other related deceptions. It keeps all promises as given.
Mercy and truth are essential components of wisdom. They do not literally forsake men, but the inherent depravity we have from Adam causes us to forsake them! The rule of wisdom here is to love and remember these two pillars of godly conduct in all situations.
The blessed Lord Jesus had the perfect balance of mercy and truth. No man was more compassionate, even to enemies; no man was stricter about the truth, though it cost Him His life. He forgave easily and quickly, yet He is called Faithful and True (Rev 19:11).