Words for the Weekend: Kindness and Truth

Coming to you over the weekend to share something about those two words above. I found them in scripture this week and kept thinking about them. I decided to share them as a reminder and encouragement to all of us as we round the corner on finishing the first month of 2024.

Here are the words again:



I loved those words as instructions for us in work, whatever we do and however that’s defined. And, each word separately and perhaps even more powerfully when together. They were in this verse:

Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. (Proverbs 3:3 NASB2020)

The words in that verse snagged my eye and heart on my way to a passage my devotional suggested, a wonderful but very familiar passage. I happened to be reading in a version I haven’t read for awhile and the seemingly new language jumped out.

And I was intrigued by this fresh language occurring just before well-known verses. So, I loved the juxtaposition of it all as well.

However, because they struck me as something I was seeing for the first time, I had a sneaking suspicion that other Bible versions might use different word choices in that verse, and wow, do they ever.

In fact, the word choices varied enough to provide a clue that the original Hebrew word might not be easy to translate into English.

Turns out (thanks to a study Bible) that the Hebrew word the English translators struggle with is the word Khesed, God’s love for humanity, and the kind of love He expects us to have for others. Sometimes translated as God’s loving kindness, you may know of it already. It occurs more than 250 times in the Old Testament and it is hard to capture in English all the layers of meaning. That last bit I learned from googling the word.

But it is fun to see what choices other versions made. Here’s the verse in the NIV:

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. (NIV)

Other versions used steadfast love and faithfulness (ESV), loyalty and kindness (NLT), mercy and truth (KJV) or my favorite, the Amplified Bible, mercy and kindness and truth.

But truth and kindness strike me as really good exhortations for us in dealing with others. And as Proverbs goes on to suggest in the next verse, they should lead to favor and a good reputation in the sight of God and man. Those three verses then precede these deservedly well-known and well-loved ones:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV)

Some path straightening was in order for me this week. I spent much of it at an intense online business training and inspiration seminar, several long days that provided some good insights and information I appreciated and needed to learn.

But I also needed the fresh viewpoint of scripture, as the secular viewpoints pummeling me sometimes left a bad taste in my mouth. And that’s when I happened upon the verse with kindness and truth anchoring it.

Perhaps you, like me, might be comforted and encouraged by those words and take them with you into your weekend away from work. Come to think of it, kindness and truth are key in personal relationships, too!

Originally sent as an email to the Buoyancy community on January 27, 2024.
Joni Sullivan Baker
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