Mercy Triumphs Over Judgment
12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Precedent of Privilege
The law that gives freedom is mercy. Mercy overrides judgment, and provides the vehicle through which God can have compassion on us. God’s holiness demands that we be punished, but God’s mercy is the velvet glove over the proverbial iron hand. God’s word says that His mercies renew every morning. God can have compassion on us through His mercy.
Conviction without Clemency
Because mercy is a character trait of God, we are expected to display it as His image-bearers. James tells us that when we are without mercy, we will be shown God’s judgment without the tempering action of His mercy. That should be very sobering to us. No matter what anyone does to us or to our loved ones – physical, emotional, financial, sexual, or any other kind of assault, the act of sinning is far more egregious to God than what was done to us by men. We must keep in mind that God displays His character to us as we experience His character through the way we live our lives. When we show mercy to others, God gives us a better appreciation for and understanding of His merciful nature.
Isn’t it wonderful that mercy triumphs over judgment? Without mercy, the first time anyone sinned they would be immediately thrown into Hell. The human race would have ended before it had begun, with Adam’s immediate incarceration in the lake of fire (Eve was just deceived – Adam was the one who sinned). We greatly desire justice, but should also desire mercy for others. We cry out to God to show us mercy. Why should we not extend the same courtesy to others that we ourselves desire from God?
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask a question: Is my first inclination to desire mercy or judgment for those who have wronged me?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, I am grateful that You have shown me mercy in the sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus Christ, for my sins through His death and resurrection. Help me to have the same attitude towards mercy that You have, that I might show mercy to others when they have wronged me. I recognize that mercy does not excuse their behavior, but provided a loving outreach to them so that they can have a change of heart about what they are doing. I recognize the pain that I will have since justice has not been fully meted out, but I greatly desire to better understand Your merciful nature as I do my best to live out Your character in my daily life. Strengthen me in this, for my spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak. This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.