James 2:13 “For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.” (NASB)
This verse amplifies the saying, “Do it because it is the right thing to do, and not because you are being forced to do it.” Those who live judgmental lives are typically harshly judged by others. Ephesians 2:4-5 shows the alternative to being judgmental, “But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved.” (NIV) God would have been right to administer justice upon us, but instead He showed us mercy and love. If Christ can forgive you when you are dead in your sins, surely you can forgive another for much lesser things?
Being judgmental or merciful results in two totally different outcomes. Being judgmental fuels hatred and bitterness while showing mercy and love fuels forgiveness and change. God created you to respond to mercy and love, but unfortunately your nature finds judgment more convenient. In 1 John 4:12 you see how love is released in you as you love another, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.” (NIV) Showing mercy and love can be hard, but when you do it, you allow more of God to not only live in you, but also to take hold of your life. In reality the Christian life is about allowing God to be God in your life, so that His life in you completes you. Mercy triumphs over judgment, because love is the quintessential change agent He uses. The next time you find yourself at odds with someone, let love, compassion, understanding, and gentleness emanate from your life instead of judgment. Live as God treated you in Micah 7:18, “Who is a God like You, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of His inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.” (NIV)1 John 4:8-9 “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.” (NIV)
Do you know someone who needs this message on mercy. If so, forward them this devotion as a blessing for their “growth in Christ.”
Resources on mercy and love from Growing in Christ Bible studies: “Deeper With God” and Transformation 2, Lesson 4 – “Love.”
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