Reattaching the Ligaments
Scripture: Psalm 25:10
In Latin, the root word for religion is ligare, which means “to connect, bind, or join.” So religion is about reconnecting broken, fallen people with their loving Creator God. Just as ligaments (another word that draws its roots from ligare) attach bones to one another, religion connects our souls to God. God’s plan is that we receive mercy and truth from him and are then able to pass it on to others. This is the beautiful essence of the gospel. We are reconnected to a loving God, and we bring connection and redemption to one another.
Mercy and truth are the core of “religious” ligaments that reconnect us. In Psalm 25:10, God discloses his operating system: “All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies” (KJV).
This coupling of mercy and truth occurs throughout Scripture. We receive an array of benefits by reconnecting with God in this way:
• Favor from God and a good name (see Proverbs 3:4)
• Atonement for our iniquity (see Proverbs 16:6)
• Power and position is preserved (see Proverbs 20:28)
• Mercy and truth are inseparable from God’s presence (see Psalm 89:14)
• Mercy and truth are the forerunners of righteousness and peace (see Psalm 85:10)
We see the revelation of both God’s heart and character in mercy and truth. When these get out of balance, we cease being the ligaments that properly connect people to God.
When we read about Jesus, we see over and over again how he brought both truth and mercy to the people in the context of relationship. He did not write sermons for others to read. He did not communicate through proxy. When Jesus spoke truth and showed mercy, he always did it with a touch. A glance. A smile. He was always there. This “secret sauce” of truth and mercy in the context of relationship changed the world.
Today, mercy seems to have devolved into deeds, works, and the administration of scanty diaconal funds. What happened to Jesus’s model of face-to-face? Hand-to-hand? Life-on-life? When we show both mercy and truth in a relational context, the power of the gospel multiplies.
In what ways has Jesus’s model of speaking truth become watered down in our churches today? In what ways has Jesus’s model of showing mercy become weakened?