James 2:12-13 says, “Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”
This was the basis for Pastor Lee’s message today. I don’t know what it is about his sermons, but they really stick with me throughout the week. He really hits each point home, and it is a convicting word. I need it!
Lately we’ve been learning more about the Beatitudes. I love hearing well-known passages that I loved as a child rehashed as an adult with adult perspectives. It really puts the Word into practice; or, at least it should. I’m trying.
I love this quote: “Grace is getting what you don’t deserve; mercy is not getting what you do deserve.”
Being merciful is hard… it’s just not our nature. But when we read the story of the unmerciful servant, it’s easy to get upset at him! It’s a story told by Jesus to illustrate how mercy works. A servant was forgiven a huge debt by his master, but failed to forgive his servant of a much smaller debt.
The truth is, this is what we do, all. The. Time. I do it, all the time. I think… “Hmm, it would teach this person a lesson to do such-and-such or say such-and-such.” It’s not our job to “teach lessons”… it’s the Holy Spirit’s.
Jesus also teaches to forgive seven times seventy. Whoa. I don’t know if I’ve even forgiven seventy times in my whole life. The point is not the number though, it’s the “attitude of forgiveness”, as it was put this morning.
The way judgment was explained made sense to me. Like, if someone acts a certain way and I think, “Man, they must not be saved,” or “I hope they get what’s coming to them! They really hurt me,” or “No wonder that happened to them.. they’re a sinner.”
The problem I have is how to apply that in real life… but it’s best to err on the side of mercy.
I can ask myself these questions and answer them pretty quickly:
Who do I need to forgive? How do I show them mercy?
I want to forgive more, and in turn, I will be forgiven more.
I need the peace that comes from forgiveness and showing others mercy. Without that peace, I am left to my own devices… my sin, my guilt, and will be tortured by them.
Praise God that we don’t get what we deserve.