The Jewish King, Solomon, provided us with the book of Proverbs.
One of the many wise sayings is this, “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.” Proverbs 3:3-4 Sometimes believers can be so focused on the truth that they are willing to forsake mercy in whatever method they use to make their point as if kindness to others is secondary to truth rather than part of the truth itself. This might be because we have been taught to divorce the importance of having a good name in the sight of man from having the favor of God because sometimes we really do have to choose one or the other.
And it is true that following God can lead to the dislike from other people since being around those who value good conduct can lead to conviction in their own minds because it highlights an inconsistency or fault in their own character that they are not willing to give up. And it is true that we should never abandon truth to be liked, if that is what some require for friendship. But it is just as true that we should never abandon mercy in our desire to be right regardless as to how others may or may not respond to us. Just because some may not befriend us because we may not participate in or support all of the things they like to do, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do our best to be kind and merciful to everyone while upholding truth.
There should never be the opportunity for someone to legitimately trace dislike of us to a lack of kindness in how we treat people or hypocrisy. Unfortunately, some people think that just because God is love and says some things are right, it doesn’t matter how they personally go about telling other people what God says regarding what they are doing wrong. They seem to think it is not possible to be unloving while sharing the truth of a loving God, but you most definitely can if you are condescending, arrogant, and judgmental of others while quoting the Bible.
People seem to forget that it is very possible to be wrong in your conduct toward others while communicating truth that is right. The ends do not justify the means in regard to faith and we shouldn’t automatically view being concerned with relating to others we disagree with doctrinally with as much tactfulness, mercy, and kindness as we can as being in competition with being as faithful to God as we can be because faithfulness to God requires mercy toward other people. If we really are following God our conduct should give us a good name in the sight of man and God because it is not possible to have a good name in the sight of God and act as if people don’t matter.
Picture originally found here