Lovingkindness and Truth
Lovingkindness and Truth
Recently I read through the book of Psalms and was struck by how many times the psalmist pairs the two words lovingkindness and truth. In addition to the above verse, here are a few more examples:
All the paths of the LORD are lovingkindness and truth. Psalm 25:10
O God, in the greatness of your lovingkindness, answer me with your saving truth. Psalm 69: 13
If anyone in the Bible knew about God’s truth, it was David. While confronting David about his secret sins of murder and adultery, the prophet Nathan told David he was evil in God’s sight. That’s some hard truth right there, delivered from a trusted friend. Not only that, his sin had consequences: David’s unborn child would die and his living sons would turn against him. To his credit, David also responded with the truth: “I have sinned against the LORD.” (2 Samuel 12:13)
God, thank you for Your deep and profound love for each of us. Fill us with that love so that we can love others. Show us how to balance lovingkindness and truth in our relationships with our family, friends, coworkers and anyone else we encounter today.
But God’s truth is paired with His lovingkindness (another word for this is mercy) and points us to His generosity. Nathan tells David: “The LORD has also taken away your sin; you shall not die.” (2 Samuel 12:13) According to Old Testament law, death deserved death. David should have been put to death for his sin, but God promises to forgive and protect David. And although he mourns the weight of his sin, David also feels the equal weight of God’s great compassion and lovingkindness.
If you picture it as a scale, the two sides of lovingkindness and truth are always perfectly balanced. Lovingkindness paired with truth is how God relates to us. He loves us too much to allow us to live in the lie of sin. He knows that truth brings freedom and will always invite us to live in that freedom, but He does it with profound love and compassion.
He also asks us to love others in the same way He loves us. How do we live out the balance of lovingkindness and truth? It’s not easy. At times we may focus too much on truth, judging others harshly, damaging relationships and creating isolation and hurt. Other times we focus too much on lovingkindness, afraid to confront or set boundaries and enabling others to continue living in the lie of sin. There is no one but God who does this well, but we can ask Him for help, and we can align our hearts to His as we interact with those around us.
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