Mar 29 8:08 AM

Mercy Over Judgement

Mar 29 8:08 AM
Mar 29 8:08 AM


Monday, March 29, 2021

James 2:12-13



I was going through a news feed, and I saw an article that I thought captured a lot about how I'm thinking today. The title was, Has America Forgotten How to Forgive? The whole gist of the article is that anytime somebody does something wrong, we have what has been termed "Cancel Culture," which I am, by and large, opposed to. Cancel Culture says that anytime you do something wrong, that's it. It's over for you. So, the article told a story of somebody from a magazine who said something he shouldn't have when he was a teenager, and was fired from his job. He said it as a 17-year-old, apologized for it, but was still fired from his job. It just seems so true that we are unwilling to forgive. The reason why we're so unwilling to forgive is because we're quick to judge. I'm going to say something, and I hope you'll understand my heart. Do I believe racism is still a problem in our country today? Yes. But can I tell you what's really concerning? Every time something happens from one group to another, it's instantly termed racism. My fear is that the real problem of racism gets blunted by calling everything racism. If everything's racism, then nothing's racism. And then we don't deal with the real issues of racism.

It's all because of this: We have forgotten how to forgive. We have forgotten how to forgive because we're so quick to judge. The Bible says so much about judging and the dangers of judging. I do not mean judging in terms of rendering a verdict. If I see somebody call an African American or an Asian American a derogatory name, and if I say that's wrong, that's not judging. That's just the truth. In the Bible, to judge is to assign motive and to say something about someone's character that isn't necessarily true. For example, judging would be if you say, "You said that because you're a racist," or, "You did that because you're a bad person," or, "What you said when you were 17, that carries over, and you can't change that. So you're done." The Bible says that judging is basically assigning somebody's motives to something that's not true, or that you couldn't even possibly know. And it's got a negative view.
I want to read from James 2:12-13. To illustrate this concept, James says this, "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." So, think and act in a way that you don't judge, becuase the way you judge will determine the way you are judged. In other words, the measure you use is the measure that will be used against you. Jesus said the same thing in Matthew 7. And then he goes on to say that judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment. The reason why we can't forgive is because we're such judgmental people. And the reason why we're such judgmental people is that we lack mercy. So here's my encouragement to you, when somebody does something wrong, don't judge them. Now, it's not judging to say that something is wrong, especially something horrific, like murder. I'm talking about those gray areas where you see something and the math doesn't look good, but you're not sure. Be careful about judging. The secret to being careful about judging is to have mercy. And here's the key. The key to having mercy is to remember, what if it were you?Many people, and I don't want to mention names, but people even in our own state have been quick to judge other people. And yet, they've done the very same thing and worse. I'll tell you, they had no mercy. I'm asking you to have mercy with people. Can you give people mercy? Can you give people the benefit of the doubt? Can you reserve judgment on those motive things and those unsure things? I'm not saying reserve judgment for clear wrongs and clear rights. I'm talking about the in-between. Have mercy. And how do you have mercy? Remember, you're going to be judged by that very same law that you exercise toward others. Remember, it could be you.
So let's pray. Father, forgive us for being judgmental. We all do it. We all fail. We all say things that just are not true about other people. Help us to remember to be more merciful and less judgmental. As James tells us, we'll be better off, our world would be a better place, and we'll be able to get along without having to cancel each other for things that were done many years ago. Thank you for helping us model this, in Jesus' name. Amen.