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Pointers along the way #15

Balancing mercy and truth
- Jacob Ninan

Mercy and truth meet together perfectly only in the Lord (Ps.85:9,10). Most of us tend to take sides, either with one or the other. God's mercy and truth met together in our salvation, when the truth concerning our sins and His mercy for us met together in the death of His Son in our place. But when we try to imitate this towards others, we either show too much mercy and condone their sins, or we show too little mercy and judge their sins.

The Bible warns us not to forget what we ourselves have been washed from. Have you noticed that when God tells us to show mercy to others, He links it with a reminder about His showing mercy to us (Eph.4:32;Col.3:13)? Is this not His way of helping us to be merciful to others? He also warns us that our judgment will be without mercy if we do not show mercy to others (Jas.2:13), and that He will not forgive us if we will not forgive us (Mt.6:15).

We want to show compassion on the lost sinners, and we try to avoid being self-righteous and judgmental. We remember how much we have been shown mercy by the Lord, and we show mercy to the sinners. But if we are not watchful and alert, we slowly begin to condone their sins and move away from God's hatred for sin.

For example, God hates divorce (Mal.2:16). But we feel compassion when we see the miseries of divorcees and the children who are caught up in the process. We try to think with mercy about why people end up in divorce, and how innocent people suffer, etc. In the process of doing this, we come across various reasons that seem to justify divorce in particular situations, and very soon divorce does not seem to be all that bad in our eyes! See how we got tricked into moving away from God's thoughts! Of course, this applies not only to divorce but many other things.

We need the balance of God's word to preserve us from this. His word reveals to us what He thinks about various things, and we must remember that He is right even if we cannot understand His ways or feel like agreeing with Him. His word is true even when people in the world change their opinion about various forms of sin. Our safety is to take sides with Him. It is the only way truth and mercy can be kept together.