James 2:10, 12-13 “For the one who obeys the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it…Speak and act as those who will be judged by a law that gives freedom. For judgement is merciless for the one who has shown no mercy. But, mercy triumphs over judgement.”
There really was a simpler time when a 7-digit phone number and a home address comprised the majority of our personal information. Not today. Our brains are on personal-information overload, requiring many, like me, to live by the “input - output” theory: anything new goes into the brain, automatically something stored there must vanish.
These days, we have home phones, cell phones, and work phones that comprise a whopping 10-digits each! In addition, we have home addresses, multiple email addresses, and multiple web site addresses. And we mustn’t forget about our plethora of passwords! We have so many passwords that daily there is a forgotten password, a rejected password, a stolen password, or a mis-typed password.
I recall an unfortunate time when I was issued a password 19 characters long! Inevitably, I could get 18 of the characters correct. But, with only one character out of sorts, all was hopeless. I had to get it perfect because passwords are unforgiving and unbending. One tiny snafu negates an entire password and renders it totally worthless.
Thank goodness, God’s judgement isn’t unbending like a password! God’s mercy frees us from unbending judgement. But, if we discount God’s mercy and grace and attempt to live strictly by an unbending law, we become just like those impossible passwords. We can do almost everything right but mess up on one small point, one small mis-step, or one small stumble, and like those passwords, totally fail. How demoralizing!
But wait! Some good news is found in James 2. Reread the verses above. Without a doubt, God calls us to adhere to his law. But, He graciously includes freedom from being strictly judged by an unbending law. This is His incredible mercy!
In simple English, “mercy” is God’s goodness towards us in response to our failures toward Him. God extends us mercy, and in return, God calls us to extend mercy by responding to others with goodness, regardless of their treatment towards us. When we extend mercy, we are freed from the strict “Password-Style” of judgement that says one mistake, one stumble, one mis-step and you fail.
Isn’t that great news? But wait, there’s more! In that battle between judgement and mercy, MERCY WINS! James assures us, “Mercy triumphs over judgement.” Yes, God’s battle plan is for us to be victorious because of his great mercy. And, winning always feels good! So, sisters, what are we waiting for? Let’s get out there, spread us some mercy, and get busy living a victorious life in Him!
Father God, we praise you for your loving mercy and grace. Help us keep our eyes and hearts on you. Thank you for making us victorious through your mercy. And, give us the courage to extend that mercy to others.