It just kind of crept up on me- this amazing statement of the apostle James. It jumped right out of the inspired page into my heart. Such is the nature of bold, dynamic, life-changing truth. Set in the context of demonstrating favoritism and of judging by mere appearance- here are his wonderful words:
“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!” (2:12-13)
Apparently James’ contemporaries struggled with judging as much as we do today. They were trying to play God and, predictably, failing miserably. Yet this beat goes on as we bow to the “image is everything” culture. Got money, fame, looks or special giftedness? Here take these cushy seats up front. For all the rest of you unattractive, no-talent poor folks grab a piece of the floor in the back there. (See James 2:1-11)
No mercy- just judging. Are we guilty? Remember “mercy triumphs over judgment” Do we get it?
- Mercy offers more than judgment– Judging usually accompanies prejudice, bitterness, pride and hatred. Mercy is connected to grace, forgiving and hope. Judging usually delivers an unjust final verdict while mercy offers another chance and a fresh start. Which reflects heaven the best?
- Fair judgments lead to mercy– When it comes to judging we always need to make sure we “judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24) and this should be only after we know the facts and consider the situation. This is not a harsh, snap judgment. It is a concerned response full of mercy intended to heal, help and deliver hope.
- Mercy is what we need! – Where would any of us be without the tremendous mercy of God? Through mercy God gives us what we need- not what we deserve. It is all a part of the “law that gives freedom”. How selfish of us not to pass on this wonderful gift- and how shortsighted- for if we fail to pass it on we will fail to receive it.
Take James at his word. Let him speak to your heart. Speak and act as one who appreciates mercy. It- and all who honor it- will triumph in the end.