“So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.” James 2:12-13
James reveals that The Father places the sin of showing partiality on the same laundry list wit adultery and murder. Good to know. Apparently the early church was not a concession stand offering people a soft drink. This passage reveals the church was a hospital for sinners.
Showing mercy to people you would prefer not to have in your life has always been tough medicine. From the earliest days of the church it has been a hard pill for believers to swallow.
Mercy remains the vital medicine for a healthy life, marriage, and church. Show it. Never forget it. “Mercy triumphs over judgment.” V. 13
When victorious Roman generals returned home, the Senate would host a triumph in their honor. The Triumph was more than a parade. It was a spectacular display, and an sensory overload of Roman power. The route through the city was lined with cheering crowds. The general rode in a chariot before his loyal legions. Following in his train were the chained, captured leaders of the enemy, and the treasure, and exotic animals that had been taken from the conquered land. As the adoring crowds cheered, and praised the general’s name, a slave would be assigned the task of repeatedly whispering in the ear of the conquering hero, “All fame is fleeting.”
Showing mercy comes at the huge price of giving up the right to always be right, or your desire to hold people hostage by reminding people that you once were right. You may have been right once, but you don’t’ have to throw yourself a perpetual parade. Get over it. Your fame has long since left the building.
Winning an argument and winning a friend don’t often happen at the same time. Very few people thank you for setting them straight, while humiliating them in the process.
Showing mercy to a person who disagrees with you, or sharing a pew with a person whose company does not appeal to you, are the marks of Christian maturity. Maturing is not a matter of getting older and meaner. Mercy is the sign of a child-like heart. Childishness reveals the need for a heart transplant.
NOTE TO SELF: Maturing in mercy requires a perspective on annoying people and personal attacks that only prayer can provide. Your view from the pew or your view from the pulpit only leads you to a distorted vision of The Father’s mercy. When you take your place on your own cross, you begin the lifetime journey of death to self. Eventually, persistent prayer will transform how you see others. Prayer shares The Father’s view of people that Jesus had from His cross.
“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Jesus, Luke 23:34
Prayer is the only way you will ever share The Son’s perspective on The Father’s mercy. It is called mercy because people don’t deserve it, and they can’t earn it. When you can’t see your way clear to show mercy, prayer reaches for fresh vision. Prayer breaks your grip on personal grudges, and releases The Father’s mercy. Praying for people who don’t deserve it is a sign of maturity. Grow up. Show mercy. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!