Proverbs 21:21 "He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour."
When I read that proverb with the children this morning, I thought what good companions righteousness and mercy are.
Righteousness without mercy is oppressive, pitiless, hard-hearted and cruel. By itself, righteousness tends to puff up and make one proud, and it will not extend a hand of compassion to the weak.
Mercy without righteousness is spineless, does not deal with sin, nor conform the heart and life to God's will. Mercy on its own has no character or compulsion to do what is right.
But righteousness and mercy, hand-in-hand, are the perfect balance! Jesus Christ is our example of that balance. This Psalm speaks of him:
9 Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land.
10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
11 Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
12 Yea, the LORD shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase.
13 Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps.
We can follow Christ's example by walking in His steps (righteousness) and extending His hand to others (mercy) and giving them the Gospel! Therein is found abundant life, true righteousness, and honour for the Christian (though we deserve none).