Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2, verses 12-13.
Here’s why we shouldn’t be ‘judgy.’ Jesus was judgmental, but He was God, the source of all judgment between sin and righteousness. He administered His judgment with mercy. He set an example for us by judging between right and wrong, then always siding on right, yet He did it without condescending and without demeaning others. Jesus judged using mercy. Why? You know why.
If we are without mercy, we are without Christ. Simple as that.
Jesus knew – and James re-iterates – that, without mercy we are without love. Mercy isn’t turning your back on wrongdoing. Mercy isn’t condoning sin, or turning a blind eye when wrong happens. Mercy isn’t giving people a pass. Mercy is showing love despite all those things happening, especially when they happen to us.
Mercy is saying a prayer for the guy who cut you down in the meeting at work yesterday. It’s helping the kid who stole money from you to buy drugs, with no expectation of anything from them in return. Mercy is not responding in kind when someone verbally attacks you and leaves you raw and exposed. Mercy is walking away when there is a fight at your doorstep and you know you have the advantage.
Mercy is doing anything that Jesus would because that’s the way Jesus would do it. We’re encouraged by Jesus to use our learned power of judgment to stick to the straight and narrow, not to narrowly edge out each other. And when we’re presented with the opportunity to do one thing versus another, we’re told to be merciful. Not because we have to, but because He loved us and showed us how and why.
Lord, have mercy on me and teach me to have mercy on all those around me.
When was the last time you acted in mercy?
Who can you be merciful to today?
How has Jesus been merciful to you?