Wednesday, March 14: Kind mercy wins over harsh judgment every time
Relying heavily on the teachings of Jesus and especially drawing from the Sermon on the Mount, James asserts that true faith is more than an intellectual pursuit of ideas. Instead, real faith results in action. James writes a stream of wise teachings that can easily seem like a bucket of ice water in your face. Watch for the Holy Spirit to call you to take next steps in activating your faith. On this second trip through the book in this series, we'll read from The Message.
Read James 2:8-13
You do well when you complete the Royal Rule of the Scriptures: "Love others as you love yourself." But if you play up to these so-called important people, you go against the Rule and stand convicted by it. You can't pick and choose in these things, specializing in keeping one or two things in God's law and ignoring others. The same God who said, "Don't commit adultery," also said, "Don't murder." If you don't commit adultery but go ahead and murder, do you think your non-adultery will cancel out your murder? No, you're a murderer, period.
Talk and act like a person expecting to be judged by the Rule that sets us free. For if you refuse to act kindly, you can hardly expect to be treated kindly. Kind mercy wins over harsh judgment every time.
Just in case we secretly pride ourselves in our ability to dodge certain sin-potholes, James reminds us of our sorry state. Is this posture of humility hard for you to hold? Could it be the key to looking upon your sisters and brothers with more compassion and less judgment?
Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner. Note the nonspecific, universal aspect of this simple but powerful prayer. Repeat this verse a few times and observe what comes to your mind and heart. Where do you need the cover of God's mercy? Who might you need to ask for forgiveness?