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The Weekly Word: Needed – Mercy and truth

By Pastor Paul & Dixie Phillips, Gospel Lighthouse Church, Floyd

Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

– Psalm 85:10

All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth toward those who honor his covenant and decrees.

– Psalm 25:10

Every day we are faced with moral decisions to make in our broken world. The morning and evening news always seems to be about corruption and horrific crimes. It’s heartbreaking to see sin destroying lives and watch our country continuing to lose its moral compass.

Many times, when we try to have a healthy discussion about sensitive subjects, lines are drawn, sides are taken and the tone escalates.

On one side are the the truth-bent individuals usually giving their strong, dogmatic opinions. On the other side, and just as passionate, are the mercy-bent individuals not wanting to confront the issues and ignoring the sin problem.

But what is the biblical approach to these hard-to-navigate situations? Do we need more truth, or do we need more mercy?

If we want to be grounded in God’s Word, we will soon discover we need them both.

If we go through life only speaking truth and not extending mercy, we will soon find our hearts become hard and a “holier than thou” attitude creeps in. On the other hand, if we ignore truth, and over emphasize mercy, we will soon be accepting and condoning things that the Bible calls sin.

Both of these attitudes are wrong!

As a Christian, what biblical approach should we take when someone asks us what the Bible teaches about some of these sensitive issues? Or how should we respond when a family member or a loved one confesses their secret sin to us?

In Galatians 6:1, the apostle Paul teaches that we should come in a spirit of truth, humility and love. We are to listen and gently restore the fallen. We are to speak the truth in love.

We must be very careful when we stand for righteousness, that we do it in the right spirit. We must never have a prideful attitude, where we think we are better than the person we are trying to help.

Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.

— Galatians 6:1

The Gospels of Christ give many accounts of people approaching Jesus with their moral dilemmas and questions.

There is a beautiful example of Jesus’ merciful, but truthful, attitude when the accusers throw the adulterous woman at His feet. Jesus spoke to them truthfully, “You without sin, cast the first stone.”

You know the story, one-by-one they all dropped their stones and left. Jesus asked the woman, “Where are your accusers?”

She replied, “They are all gone.”

Do you see the mercy He showered on her? But then He digs a little deeper and says, “Go and sin no more.”

Jesus didn’t compromise on speaking truth and showing mercy. And, as His followers, neither should we.

• • •

Pastor Paul and Dixie Phillips have been honored to serve the Gospel Lighthouse Church, 205 Madison Street, in Floyd, Iowa, since 1981. To find out more about the church and ministry go to

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