Proverbs 3:3

Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:


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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 obeyed. Let mercy and truth rule your life.

You cannot literally bind mercy and truth around your neck. They are character traits of wisdom and the Holy Spirit and cannot be linked to string, rope, or chains. The metaphor describes tight attachment to a person’s outward life. Neither can you literally write them on the table of your heart. This metaphor describes committing them to your affection and memory. Wise men are dedicated to mercy and truth on their inside and their 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 (Pr 19:11; Matt 5:38-42). Kindness and tenderheartedness should be emphasized. You should teach them to love their enemies, as the Lord and Stephen did (Pr 24:17-18; 25:21-22). 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 (Pr 12:22; 16:11; 17:7; Rom 12:17). 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 men have from Adam causes you to forsake them. The rule of wisdom here is to love and remember these two pillars of godly conduct in all situations. Most every sin can be isolated and identified as violating either mercy or truth. Beware!

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). Let Him be your holy example to keep mercy and truth ruling your life inside and out.