Proverbs Today / Proverbs 21:21

Kindness and Righteousness – a bit like Tuna Fish Ice Cream?

Proverbs 21:21 (ESV) Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.

The pursuit of righteousness AND kindness together, form a strange juxtaposition to many. And this on at least two counts: a. When kindness is confused with weakness or spinelessness. b. When the pursuit of righteousness is confused with militant brusqueness – as thought that implies strength.

In God’s ways, the pursuit of righteousness and kindness are to be wedded together; alloyed, neither one neglected. One thinks of Eph. 4:15 “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,” Truth MUST be spoken at all costs. But it also must be spoken lovingly – at all costs. Denigration and bluster add nothing to truth. In fact, they hinder its reception (Prov. 16:21 “The wise of heart is called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.” Prov. 16:23 “The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips.”)

Righteousness sought apart from kindness will result in hardness, legalism, intractability, and frustrated anger with self and others.

Kindness without the pursuit of righteousness and truth, will result in unclear speech and compromise.

Demonizing those who differ from us does nothing positive. Burying the truth of God’s Word does even more harm. It is those who seek after righteousness in themselves and in others in kindness, that will find life, true righteousness, and honor from our Christ and King.

Neither God’s standard for living, nor His Spirit’s kindness can be safely neglected.

Father, never let me separate the two. Never let me think that there is a true righteousness apart from kindness, nor that kindness is an excuse to compromise in righteousness. How I fail at this so often.

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