James 2:12-13, “12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment. “
“Mercy is a quality involved in acts of alleviating suffering or distress, or in showing restraint towards those whom one has the power to punish or harm, whether justly or unjustly, often motivated by the emotion of pity.”
- The quality of mercy is not strained.
- It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
- Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
- It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
- Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
- The throned monarch better than his crown.
- His scepter shows the force of temporal power,
- The attribute to awe and majesty,
- Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings.
- But mercy is above this sceptered sway;
- It is enthroned in the hearts of kings;
- It is an attribute of God himself;
- And earthly power doth then show like God’s
- When mercy seasons justice.
It seems that we live in a world full of front page news-worthy crimes and that is only the tip of the iceberg on crimes in general. I wish I could tell you that it’s always best to show mercy, but then there are those crimes where it is just too hard. Then the Bible gets right there – judgement without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. I have to ask myself, when was the last time that I showed mercy? When was the last time I took pity on another? Do I get a free pass because I can’t afford to give? Will I be shown mercy when I need it most?
When it comes right down to it, the reason for the season, is mercy. Jesus excelled at showing mercy to the ill and those of ill-repute. Why do I have such a hard time? Am I much better? Certainly not! The only remaining conclusion is that I am simply out of the practice of showing mercy. I never thought I would aspire to be like Zaccheus the tax collector of Luke 19, But it’s a start until I learn to show mercy like Jesus did. It’s not as if I’m an outright mean person who would sooner talk down than lend a hand, but I don’t put myself in a lot of positions where I’m called to show mercy. It’s not like there is a homeless man down the street or petty criminals who have wronged me and are in need of some mercy. Perhaps that is half of the problem. A “If it’s not in my back yard, then what am I to do about it?” Mentality. Do Christians lack a certain amount of mercy? What can a church do to help its members be more merciful? Do you aspire to be more merciful, more like Zaccheus, or more like Jesus?