In every way, then, speak and act as people who will be judged by the law of freedom. There will be no mercy in judgment for anyone who hasn’t shown mercy. Mercy overrules judgment. (James 2:12-13 CEB)
At every turn today we hear the cry for judgment and justice. Giving people exactly what they deserve isn’t just fashionable, it’s seen as essential. To simply suggest otherwise will result in a smirk or a sneer.
Into such a world God steps in. How then do things look different now? How will he make any difference? Can he make a difference?
This God is love. The fruit of his Spirit in our life is love. How we love each other is how the world will know we are his followers.
All of which means we’re called as Christians to think, speak, and live very differently from the dominant ways in our culture, society, and world. We deliberately go against the flow. When our leaders say “Make them pay!” we say “Leave it to the Lord.” When our neighbors say “Give them what’s coming to them” we say “Give to them as you would have given to you.” When our friends say “No more mercy” we say “Let it land on me instead.”
But how rarely these things are heard, even among the people of God. Which is precisely why there is a judgment to come and why the preacher never ceases to remind his hearers that mercy overrules judgment.
Always walk and talk like people who will be judged by the rule that sets people free. The only people who will receive mercy then and there are the people who extend mercy here and now. Mercy trumps judgment. (James 2:12-13 DSV)
Merciful Father, have great mercy on me and work great mercy through me, I pray, in Christ’s name. Amen.