Kindness and Truth

Proverb 3: 3 – 4

Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, so you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man.

If we were to have a Word of the Day on every verse in Proverbs which is highlighted in my Bible we would be here for a while. Today’s verse is one of the more well known proverbs. It is typical of the Proverbs. It shows a cause and effect, a result and the means by which to attain that result. The result we gain today is favor and a good reputation with God and man.

The thing I particularly like about today’s verse is the translation of truth into “Jesus”. In John 14: 6 Jesus calls himself the truth. So then I read this verse as, “Do not let kindness and Jesus leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.” I think when people read proverbs like the one for today, there is an immediate acceptance of the ideas contained within. This verse sounds like a good idea but how do you apply it? How do you bind kindness and truth around your neck?

One of our responses may be, “be people of kindness and truth” and that seems to make sense. Thinking about Jesus as the truth creates a more dynamic model. Because we also know that Jesus is the Word, we can actually write this truth on our hearts. That makes today’s proverb less of an esoteric idea and more of an applied model. That is good for us.
What a pleasant idea it is thinking about binding Jesus around our necks and writing him on the tablet of our hearts. He is our Bible partner. As we seek him through the Word, meditating on Biblical precepts as we do, Jesus becomes more and more ingrained into every part of us. He is his word and he is truth and when we make kindness and truth a part of us then God’s favor becomes part of as well. In addition the favor of man and a good reputation with God and man become ours. All of that makes life here on this earth better and easier.

Increase of Favor

Proverb 11: 27

He who diligently seeks good seeks favor, but he who searches after evil, it will come to him.

Here is another way to gain favor. Seek and go after those things which are good. If you look for evil, it will find you. If you look for the good things, the righteous things, then favor is going to follow you.

This is about a condition of our heart as well as a decision of our will. When we set our eyes and our hearts on God we end up seeking His righteousness. When we seek His righteousness, then all that we need will be added to us (Matthew 6: 33). Our Lord taught us that this is a clear way to relieve ourselves of anxiety. Pursue those things which are good. “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude” (1 Timothy 4: 4). Seeking God necessarily means searching for goodness and kindness. The other proverb which speaks so clearly of favor is Proverb 3: 3 – 4 which tells us to bind ourselves to kindness and truth. When we seek good, truth or kindness we are in fact seeking God and His ways. Therefore, unmerited favor finds us.

If on the other hand we toy around with the things which are not of God’s kingdom, then evil will find us. And that is a clearer characterization of what happens because most of us don’t go out seeking after evil but rather we tolerate things that we ought not and we sort of play around with things that we know would not please God. When you play with fire, eventually you will get burned and this has happened to so many of us. We listen to a little music that we probably wouldn’t play if our pastor was in the room. We give in to some movies that we certainly wouldn’t want God to watch with us. A little of this and a little of that and we have paved the way for the things that we don’t want in our lives to come to us. We have all but sent an engraved invitation and then we act all surprised when things happen. 

We are little magnets and we are going to attract that which we set our eyes upon. That is exactly what Solomon was trying to get across to us. If we seek good we shall attract good into our lives but if we look over in the devil’s backyard he is going to make sure that we get what we are seeking. Seek goodness, truth and kindness, bind them around your neck and the favor of God and a good reputation with God and man shall be your prize.

Favor and Reputation

Proverb 3: 3 – 4

Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, so you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man.

The secret to attaining what we want in verse four is found in verse three. We can have favor with God and man and we are meant to. We also should enjoy a good reputation. You can work hard for a good reputation. You can apply all of the world’s wisdom on how to gain man’s favor, read all of the Positive Mental Attitude and Sales books, or you can take the shortcut. 

If we want to apply the Father’s shortcut the first thing that we must acknowledge and accept is that this is heart work again. You cannot just read the Bible like it is a self-help book and reap the benefits. The power of the Word is that it lives in you, in your heart. We are supposed to take the things that the Holy Spirit is teaching us and write them on the tablet of our hearts. Writing on our hearts is a purposeful act of our own. We choose what abides in our hearts and in this passage our Father is encouraging us to make it truth and kindness. 

Now if you really think about it, you would expect a person to have favor and a good reputation who has prioritized truth and kindness in their lives. No one likes a liar and a person who is unkind will have no friends. I think, though, that we can go even a little deeper with this. First of all, we are not talking about being unkind as much as being affirmatively kind. That is different. It means that kindness goes before you. Overt acts of kindness become one’s calling card. People ought to be able to rely on us responding with kindness. We ought to be predictably kind.

As for truth, there is truth with a little “t” and Truth with a capital “t”. The difference is Jesus. He is the truth. When THE truth is what we bind about our necks and write on the tablets of our hearts then we certainly will be favored among all people. Then telling “the truth” takes on a more profound meaning. Jesus becomes “the way” in our lives. His ways become our ways. Again we become reliable. People can count on us and that is really very important. How many people do you know that you can count on? Those people become precious to you.

God wants you to walk in favor with Him and to have favor with all people. That is why He is telling us how to get it. Favor means that things just go your way, people do things for you, give you things. Sometimes it is nothing more than a good parking place. Other times it is the impossible happening for you. In any event, you are supposed to have favor with God and man and it comes by letting God express His essential nature through you in love, kindness and truth.