For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

James 2: 13

 

What is mercy? By definition it is granting pardon or favor to someone over whom one has the power to judge. It is probably seen most frequently in the way that a parent treats a child, for children seem to go through life in a constant state of testing and suffering the consequences of those actions, and parents are thus forever responding with judgment that is tempered with mercy. Although it has many of the same characteristics, God’s mercy is much more significant than this. God sits in judgment of the life or death of every person, and He also possesses the final authority over the eternal disposition of our most essential selves in that aspect that we refer to as the soul.

 

Thus the sacrifice of Jesus was an act of ultimate mercy on the part of God so that every person who chooses to believe in Christ will be forgiven of all sin and escape the promised final judgment and sentence of death for the soul. In Christ we are set free. God’s mercy is an integral part of His nature and is an expression of His character. So, as we are new beings in Christ, we are transformed into people who manifest God’s nature and reflect His character. The grace that God has poured out on us is something that we possess in abundance to grant as His gift to our world, and it seems that mercy is an active expression of that grace.

 

So, back to the question of what is mercy? I think that it is much more than what we often first consider, for the mercy that God grants to us is very broad and applies to an incredibly wide range of acts and thoughts on our parts. All people deserve God’s judgment. We earn it with great ease as rebellion and defiance of God are our birth nature. Still, God pursues us in order to grant us His grace and tender His mercy to everyone who will respond to that loving effort. As I reflect upon God’s mercy as it is shown to me, I am led to seek His will for my response. I believe that Christ is telling me to be merciful. That is to be slow to judge and to grant grace to all. I am to love those who are unlovely to me, and I am to pursue to lost with that love so that they might see Christ.

 

Advertisements