This morning, I read this passage from Proverbs 3:
Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good repute
In the sight of God and man. (v.3-4)
As I pondered it, I considered how so often we Christ followers are more known for our stance on truth, but not always for our kindness. We rage against the injustices and perversions in our world, in our nation, and forget to be kind to the clerk at the checkout counter, the waiter/waitress at the restaurant, the distracted driver who cuts us off in traffic. Even to those we encounter who openly challenge or defy our faith, who blatantly attack or belittle our beliefs, we have an obligation, a Biblical mandate to respond not just with “a dose of truth”, but with a helping of kindness.
I know I need to improve in this, if no one else.
Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:15, that “speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.” A sign of maturity is learning to respond, not just react. This is true for a believer as well. We learn to speak the inerrant, unchanging truths of the Gospel to a lost, wayward world, and we accompany words with works. We are called to love, with the love of Jesus Christ.
Many will not care, some will scoff, others will still attack. But a few will hear and heed. Love softens a hard heart, and truth sets it free.