Mercy, when we get—what we don’t deserve.
Scripture for today: James 2:12-13 (NLT)
“So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.”
I have always been amazed that James, the half brother of Jesus, along with the rest of Jesus’ siblings did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah—until the miracle of the resurrection. In fact, in Mark’s gospel he tells of how Jesus’ family claimed, “He is out of His mind.” You see Jesus was not even accepted in His own town. He was rejected. He was ridiculed. He was nothing special–to them.
For James to write about the life of Jesus as THE MESSIAH…well that is a miracle indeed!! Jesus appeared to James after he had defeated death on the cross. I can only imagine how James might have felt “seeing” Jesus. Experiencing the realness of a man who died and came back to life. The Jesus who should be in his tomb! Overwhelming to say the least.
James is sharing with Christian Jews how important it is to not just ‘talk the talk’ of being a Christ follower but that they need to ‘walk that walk’. One area James teaches us about is showing mercy to one another. Mercy exists because of Jesus. Mercy is a gift. Mercy occurs when we clearly deserve punishment but when God doesn’t punish us. So many times the Bible shows us illustrations of His mercy. God fully demonstrates His mercy in Jesus Christ. So, God given mercy means that, at times when we deserve punishment—God can choose to bring a blessing instead. Mercy is a blessing.
Reflecting upon the interactions and many encounters with other’s in my coming’s and going’s over the past few weeks, I have encountered many different people in my day to day. And other people can be difficult. Remembering that each life tells a story that is different than mine, that some stories are happier than mine, some sadder, some more complicated, and some more desperate…but everyone has one. This helps me to stay mindful of how desperately we need “this mercy”.
I believe mercy is when we allow God to lead us to be compassionate in our attitudes, words and actions. When we show mercy it goes way deeper than just being kind. Mercy is laced in love. Mercy is an encourager of the lowly, of the forgotten, and yes…of the crabby, the angry, the confused, those that irritate us, hurt us, and even hate us! Because being merciful is loving like Jesus loves! There’s no place I’d rather be than in the merciful arms of Jesus Christ! Take today, be merciful to those who don’t deserve it–well those we think don’t deserve it. Because if we are truly honest-we could use a little mercy ourselves…. couldn’t we?
Holding Fast to Hope,
Scripture references: Mark 3:21, 1Samuel 21:10 Joshua 2:17-19