The speed limit sign stated 55 miles per hour. There was no doubt what the standard speed was for that stretch of highway. Although some may complain, the standard is the same for everyone.
When you or I travel at a speed higher than the posted limit, an officer of the law can stop us. He can issue a warning or a ticket.
As the officer walks up to our driver’s window, we all hope for the warning but know we deserve the ticket.
It is a simple tension. We know there is a set standard, we have violated it, yet hope for mercy.
It would seem ridiculous to argue with the officer that no speed limit exists, it is posted in black and white.
Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.
Proverbs 21:21 ESV
According to this verse a simple tension exists for “life” to be a reality. The tension is to pursue BOTH righteousness and kindness. “Righteousness” is the standard of right God has established. “Kindness” is a unique word that could also be translated “loving-kindness.”
God’s righteous standards (speed limits) do exist. Some argue that they don’t exist and we can live any way we want and it should be acceptable.
Yet His grace, mercy, forgiveness, and loving-kindness are available through the sacrifice of His perfect Son, Jesus Christ, who died on the a Roman cross in our behalf.
Many today simply deny a standard exists. They want everyone else to accept their behavior as good and normal. They expect only mercy and loving-kindness without acknowledging that a godly standard exists.
If there were no standard set by God, then mercy and grace would not be necessary for all of us who break God’s standard.
God’s standard for sexual expression is one man and one woman in marriage. This is God’s blessed standard and His definition of marriage. Other forms of sexual expression break His standard: pre-marital sex, affairs, pornography, bestiality, child abuse, homosexuality, etc.
Some deny this standard exists. Some seek to muzzle those who want to hold up the standard by saying they are “judgmental.”
Judging is not holding up the truth. Judging is what one does after the truth is held up.
Judging is holding up the truth and then dismissing the guilty person as worthless and beyond help.
It is not judging when one holds up the truth and at the same time offers God’s forgiveness and loving-kindness through Jesus Christ.
Look at this verse one more time:
Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life …
Proverbs 21:21 ESV
Real “Life” is pursuing BOTH God’s righteous standard and pursuing His grace and forgiveness at the same time.
Admitting one has broken God’s standard and chooses to change (repentance) is necessary before one can receive God’s mercy and grace in Jesus Christ.
Our Father in heaven, help us to live by Your righteousness standard and Your grace in Christ. Fill us with loving-kindness toward everyone we meet.