"My son ... let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart." Proverbs 3:3
It's worth our while to "saddle up our horse" and ponder Solomon's wisdom to his son. Note well:
- There are two subjects: Love and Faithfulness. Love is the Hebrew word hesed, which connotes a steadfast, fully-orbed Grace toward another. Faithfulness suggests a commitment to what is True, honorable, and right. Love and Faithfulness – or in other words, Grace and Truth – are ultimate to the author's instruction to his son.
- If the son binds them around his neck, he will never lose them.
- If the son writes them down, it's like carving them into his heart.
This verse is saying something profound: Grace and Truth are the two indispensable attributes to growth and flourishing as a person made in God's image. Or, to borrow equine terminology, Grace and Truth serve as stirrups for our feet, to keep us atop our horse.
Now consider these words about Jesus, from John 1:14, 17:
"And the Word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth... for the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."
Jesus embodied both grace and truth like no one else ever did. The Son of God was full to the brim with grace and truth, with steadfast love and faithfulness. May his character become ours.
The greatest danger for a cowboy or cowgirl is falling off their horse, whether to the left or to the right. This image is apt in today's culture, as many so-called believers tend to lean in their saddles toward either Grace or Truth.
Some riders fall off their Horse to the left – they are "all grace," but compromise clear truth. So, while they appropriately embrace the hurting and marginalized, in the name of Grace they also affirm lifestyles that are incongruent with God's heart and moral order/Law.
Other riders fall off their Horse to the right – they are "all truth," but stiff-arm Biblical compassion and Good Samaritan assistance. While it's always commendable to defend the truth, they forget they were once in great need of rescue – while failing to care for the wounded, tempted, defeated, and imprisoned lives of others.
We must keep our feet firmly in the two stirrups of Grace and Truth.
We must stay on the Horse.
Today, which way are you leaning in your saddle? Have you face-planted recently? If so, get back up on your horse. Falling isn't fatal. Failing to get back up on your horse, however, is.