Wednesday, 9 September 2020 James 2:1-13
For God will not show mercy when he judges the person who has not been merciful; but mercy triumphs over judgment. -James 2:13
The title of this passage in the Good News Translation Bible is ‘Warning against Prejudice.’ Prejudice means a preconceived opinion, unreasonable feelings, and attitudes, of a hostile nature towards a particular group of people or even individual. James deals with the Christian’s attitude towards others especially to people from different strata of society— he teaches us the wrongs of partiality, prejudice.
Being judgmental/making judgements of people based on their race or culture or position in society is unbiblical. God has created every man on the face of the earth and that too the Word says man is created in His image and likeness (Genesis 1: 27). If we aren’t able to accept others who are made in the image of God, we are dishonouring Him!
The key verse has to do with being merciful. A man of God has rightly defined “grace” and “mercy.” – Grace is getting what we didn’t deserve- For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God… (Ephesians 2:8,9). Mercy is not getting what we rightly deserved- God’s wrath against each of us who has transgressed His law and sinned against Him. But in His great mercy it says in 1Peter 1: 3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope...”
Joseph’s attitude towards his brothers who had done him a great deal of wrong was one of mercy. His brothers did not deserve any kindness let alone mercy, for the way they had ill- treated him- some of them had even wanted to get rid of him! Yet the mercy he showed towards his brothers shines through in the chapter of Genesis 43. God had worked in Joseph’s life all these years turning his disappointments and hardships into something better and bigger he could never himself have imagined. God worked in forgiveness and mercy into his life that he could show it to his brothers.
We too, who have been shown such great mercy by a God who loves us, need to extend the same to others who we might think “don’t deserve it” at all. You may have been wronged or ill-treated by someone and many—God wants you to forgive and grant them His mercy so that the hard pinch of pain within you will be released. This is what God expects of us— “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7). The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant (Matt.18:21-35) which Jesus tells His disciples, reminds us that those who don’t show mercy, won’t receive mercy!
Brothers and sisters, it is so easy to pass judgment on others without thinking of the scale of grace and mercy shown to us by our Heavenly Father. If we would constantly remind ourselves of the “grace in which we now stand” (Romans 5:2), we would be less prejudiced and not be quick to pass judgment on others. Besides, if there are people in our lives that need our mercy, it would do us good to reflect on the great mercy we have received from God in not being punished for what we deserve. May God’s great mercy catapult our actions to extending mercy to those we feel have wronged us or those who we feel don’t really deserve it from us.
Would you be a channel of His grace and mercy today?
Thought for the Day: “The most miserable prison in the world is the prison we make for ourselves when we refuse to show mercy.” ~Warren Wiersbe