Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man. Proverbs 3:3-4
What did your daddy teach you growing up? Many dads teach their children the manly things in life, like how to skip stones, tie fishing knots, or change a car's oil. We can remember back to those moments with our dads and hear their voice calling out to us today, And whatever you do, don't forget to _________.
Our verses for today are this kind of statement. It is a father's words to his son, saying, Above all else, do this. Within this father's command we find a conundrum, for he tells us to bind both mercy and truth around our necks, to write them on our hearts.
I don't know about you, but the last time I checked, mercy requires us to move past the truths of harmful things people have done. In order to grant someone mercy, we have to acknowledge that painful truth, but then move past it. How is this supposed to work?
Actually, it works a lot like simple addition. Think about the equation 2+3=5. Two is a fact. Three is a fact. But both two and three together create a different fact altogether.
Let's say that the two is something terrible that you or someone else has done, and the three is mercy, granted either by God to you or by you to that someone else. Both the truth of the terrible action and the mercy are real, but here is where I think most of us think about it the wrong way.
We think of the mercy as a negative instead of a positive in a mathematical sense (2[sin]()2[mercy]()=0), meaning that the mercy takes away from the terrible act, working to cover up the truth of what happened. In reality, this is not the way mercy works, for mercy comes upon a terrible deed and transforms it into a completely new reality. Without the three, the two would never have become a five.
Or to say it a different way-You (sinner) + Mercy = You (saint). When God added His mercy to your life, He broke you out of the truth-prison in which you had been bound and set you free into a greater reality than you could have ever accessed without it.
It does the same thing for the people around us when we grant them mercy. It does not simply cover up the truth of what they have done; it goes beyond that to transform them into something new.
Who can you give mercy to today?
Prayer Lord Jesus,
Thank You for giving me mercy through the cross! Help me to understand truth and mercy and to choose to give mercy to the people around me.