Jump Start # 1912
Psalms 85:10 “Lovingkindness and truth have met together; righteousness and peace kissed each other.”
In this very poetic passage written by the sons of Korah, we find the principles of lovingkindness, truth, righteousness and peace. These four principles are characteristics of God and are need to be found in the people of God. It seems, especially the way moderns present things, that these principles have little in common with each other and can even be portrayed as opposites. To be loving, it seems that a person must back off the strictness, especially around truth. Love and grace go together, that’s for certain. Love and forgiveness. But lovingkindness and truth? Righteousness and peace also seem hard to fit together. These four principles seem like square pegs that we try to fit into round holes. It’s not smooth, easy or comfortable. To have peace, it seems one must compromise. How can one compromise and be right? It is easier to understand be right or be at peace, but not both. Not together. Not at the same time.
These four principles are personified. They appear as people. Lovingness meets truth, just like two people meet. The flow of this sentence is that the meeting is good. They have joined together. A friendship has formed. Two grand principles of God meet. They do not square off against each other. They do not walk away from each other. Rather, because of what follows, it seems that lovingkindness and truth hit it off. They become friends. The legendary singer Glen Campbell recently passed away. I watched a video about one of his dear friends. They golfed almost daily. They lived in the same town. They respected each other’s abilities. Their wives were good friends. Their kids grew up together. Who was this friend of Glen Campbell? It was the hard rocker Alice Cooper. Talk about opposites. But he shared how much they had in common. He explained why there were such great friends. Lovingkindness and truth meet.
The next expression brings in affection. Righteousness and peace do more than meet. They become more than just friends. They kiss. There is a bond between them. A romance. A love. Boy meets girl. All of us who are married started with a first date. There was that first kiss. That romance grew into a marriage. After many years, it’s hard to imagine one without the other. Righteousness and peace, together, just as they ought to be. The platform in which peace can exist and survive is righteousness. The opposite of being right is being wrong. Wrong with God. Wrong with each other. When we have been wronged, peace evaporates. Someone talks about us in a bad way. Someone lies. Someone has been dishonest towards us. This does more than hurt our feelings, it breaks the trust we had in them. Peace no longer remains. So, for righteousness and peace to kiss, makes perfect sense from Heaven’s side of things.
All of this brings us to some greater observations:
First, the principles of God are not counter to each other. It’s not a cafeteria, where we pick out certain qualities and leave others untouched. We are not to pick out lovingkindness but leave out truth. God wants us to manifest all the characteristics that He reveals. This would be true of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5. This would be true of the virtues found in 2 Peter. This would be true of the last verse of Ephesians 4. To be whole in Christ, we must grow and develop all of these. Without being right, we cannot have peace. To love, is to stand with truth. Many make sure that the church is standing true and pure yet they haven’t done the same thing with their own hearts. While they would never deviate one inch away from what God says the church is to do, they don’t see the same with their attitudes, tongue or heart.
Second, some qualities are easier than others. Because some qualities do not come naturally to us, or they challenges us, is no means to avoid them or ignore them. In Titus we find, “Our people must learn to engage in good deeds.” In Timothy we read, “they must learn to practice piety in regard to their own family.” Paul told the Philippians, “I have learned to be content.” Learn. Just as a student in school must learn, so must we. We must be shown how to develop the heart and characteristics of God. We must put forth some effort to learn. Every school year, some kids do well and get on the honor roll. Others flunk out and must take classes over. Some learned. Some learned well. Some didn’t.
Third, some excel in these more easily than others do. Some, because of their background, thinking, and internal wiring, are more likely to develop these qualities much easier and faster than others. Some are loving. They have grown up seeing the love of God and the love of neighbor. Their thought process is to think the best of others. They have learned to be kind in word and respectful in attitude. But for others, their journey has not been this way. They may have grown up with prejudice and hatred. Their world may have been surrounded with those who were bigots. Lovingkindness is tough. They have a lot of history to overcome. They have to change how they view people. I expect for some Pharisees who became Christians, it was hard to love Samaritans. Even among the apostles, there was a Jewish zealot and a tax collector. The dynamics for disaster were all there. Yet with Christ, we can learn. With Christ we can change. We can overcome our background. Prejudice people can love. People who agitate by nature can become peaceable and get along. Truth and righteousness can be a part of our lives.
Fourth, when these qualities are present, it makes the home and the church much better. The foundations that bring about love, truth, righteousness and peace is grace, fellowship and the love of God and His word. A home or a church that doesn’t stand upon truth will not be righteous. And if love isn’t present, there won’t be any peace. We can pick at each other until we get so upset that we leave and never come back or we can get along. I’ve noticed some folks are just like a mosquito. That pesky bug will buzz and buzz around you. You know he’s going to land on you and bite you. But he’s a nuisance in the process. Just like some people. You know they are going to find something negative to say. They buzz and buzz around, and you feel like swatting them but peace, lovingkindness, truth and righteousness keeps you from doing that. You can get annoyed by some. Some can really get under your skin. You could scream. But you don’t. You could smack them. But you won’t. The reason is that lovingkindness and truth have met. And, righteousness and peace have kissed. And, where did all of this take place? First in Heaven. Then, throughout the Bible. But lately, and most importantly to you, in your heart. You have brought lovingkindness and truth together. You have arranged for righteousness and peace to meet. These bonds have taken place in your heart.
Just as someone arranges for a boy to meet a girl, this arrangement was made by you in your heart. My sweet wife and I met on a blind date. A mutual friend, who knew her and knew me, introduced us together.
Lovingkindness and truth…righteousness and peace. Best friends. Companions. Together. And they are found in your heart and because of that, they have changed you. You walk in truth and righteousness. You manifest lovingkindness. You are a person of peace. It shows in your choices. It’s seen in your attitude. It’s a part of you now. It’s your spiritual DNA. Your family notices it. Your church benefits because of it.
Together, just as God intended. Lovingkindness, truth, righteousness and peace—found in God. Found in the Bible. And found in you. This is just one of the many differences God makes in our lives.