"Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other," Psalm 5:10. [KJ21] The Passion Translation says, "Your mercy and Your truth have married each other..."
Some 40 years ago, I heard an old-time gospel preacher use this scripture to explain a critical fact about the human condition. Like us, he explained, the disciples had different perspectives from which they viewed the world. Understanding that, when it came time to create "teams" Jesus sent them out, two by two, establishing their partnership on that very diversity.
Currently, the Enneagram is the popular manifestation of identifying this uniqueness, also known as, Basic Personality Types, or Temperaments. Taking this into consideration helps us understand why the disciple with a mercy perspective always walked with the brother who saw everything in the black and white of truth, because mercy can soothe the wounds truth reveals. Similarly, righteousness walked with peace. In the natural, these temperaments would be at odds with one another, like oil and water, or fingers on a chalkboard, but in the spiritual, they are "iron sharpening iron." Righteousness turns peace into a peacemaker rather than a peacekeeper. Just as peace keeps righteousness from slipping into the swamp of condemnation.
Even in the same family, we are born with different ways of perceiving the same events. We emerge from the womb wearing a God-given pair of glasses so to speak. Psalm 139, He "weaves us together in our mother's womb" and every detail perfectly suits us for His purpose. Some are truth oriented and some mercy. Peacemakers calm storms of chaos, while righteousness stirs up storms of repentance, reminding us that “sin is a reproach to any nation,” Proverbs 14:34. Even those who don’t know Christ view the world through a predisposed lens. As differences go, these partialities often lead to unrest, offense, and deception because in the natural, we cannot see through another person’s lens. Conversely God gave us these distinctive predilections, not to divide us, but so that we would recognize our need for each other. More importantly, so we would recognize our need for Him, for His Lordship over our lives. For the simple fact is that only His perspective is perfect and only through the adjustment He makes to our lens will we be we able to see clearly.
As in everything He does, God expects us to recognize how desperately we need one another. If we stubbornly rely on the way "I" see things, we will be unbalanced, unhinged, and easily led into deception. Hence the reason He sent His disciples out, two by two, each one carrying a different perception, a different emotional response to crisis, and a different revelation of Who God is.
Sometimes, the very message we need to hear is the one that exposes the inequity in our perspective.
I was born with a strong justice or "truth" perspective, an outlook, I’ve discovered, that has a way of pushing people away rather than drawing them to me. Years ago, a prophet told me that I came from a spiritual lineage that included "Joan of Arc." I laughed. That is until last summer when my girls were studying the Enneagram and exclaimed, "Mom! You're a 1!" A 1 is identified as a "Perfectionist" or "Reformer." Here's the first thing that pops up on Google about a 1: "Ones… [have] an emphasis on personal integrity and self-control. Their attention goes toward seeing and correcting what is wrong and doing the right thing. They are known for their honesty, dependability and common sense." Sounds impressive until you read the rest of the chapter. The study emphasizes the good, while unmasking the bad and ugly secrets you have tried so hard to hide. Eventually, you are convinced that the latter outweighs the former, but it is the same story for everyone. Clearly none of us see the world through a balanced, straightforward, or perfected lens. I was still processing the results when the girls added this little treat, "Guess what historical figure was a 1?" Yep! You guessed it! Joan of Arc.
Interestingly, my whole life began to make sense, especially in light of this Psalm. In the early 80's, I had a supernatural encounter in which God called me to stand against abortion. Only now do I realize that He was actually activating my natural calling. Because it was a heavenly activation, however, it came with a caveat, a warning that I must go in a spirit and attitude of mercy. "Mercy and truth are met together." To accomplish that, He broke my heart and gave me a new perspective toward abortionists and the women who obtain abortions. As I stepped out to obey, I began to encounter some of the most vicious spirits on earth and yet, I could not hold back the tears, or the flood of compassion that rose in my soul. It was then that I knew that a supernatural work had occurred within me.
On the other hand, my firstborn daughter was born with a strong mercy lens. Her kindness and hospitality are well known by everyone who meets her. However, early in her life, the Lord warned me that unless certain spiritual truths were planted deep within her soul, the day would come when mercy would lead her into compromise; a concession that could be deadly to her spiritual health. Today, we often talk about how those truths have kept her from falling into the trap of twisted mercy. Satan did come and set her up for a lifetime of disappointment, but truth preserved her.
The message on my heart is simply that God will never allow us to have everything, know everything, or be everything to the world around us. He made us to be leaners, to walk on perpetual crutches so to speak. He made us to need one another. Just as Aaron and Hur were necessary to hold up Moses' arms so we are necessary to one another.
Our differences are our saving grace.
I believe that the greatest outcome of this chaotic season would be the union of leaning into the diversity our Father created. Learning to trust the knowledge of God that can only be observed through the earthen vessel of a brother's lens. In this union, Charismatics would recognize how much they need their Baptist brothers and vice versa. Races would rejoice in their differences, finding purpose in their identity. In this union, diversities of gifts, insights, and spiritual revelations would flow without restraint. The Ekklesia would be edified, strengthened, and unhindered in her task to cover the nations with the gospel. Most notably, in this union, Jesus Christ would be glorified; His Name lifted high above the earth. His Bride leaning, trusting, and honoring the unique expression of Christ within each other. She would be purified. Her gifts flowing, like sweet-smelling oil, slipping out into the streets and neighborhoods, influencing governments, changing atmospheres, and permeating the world with the smell of His fragrance.
In this union, His people would be, finally and completely, ONE.