Thought- We must be slow to judge others, but quick to judge ourselves.
Scripture- “because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” – James 2:13
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – Matthew 7:1-2
Insight: In day 28 of learning to apply biblical principles to our daily life, what we are referring to as Practical Christianity, let’s consider what it means to let mercy triumph over judgement in our everyday lives. Many people, including myself, are often guilty of drawing conclusions or judging other’s motives or intent before they have taken time to really understand the situation at hand and to pray for God’s guidance on how to handle things. A much better approach is to lead into every situation from a place of mercy rather than judgement. James chapter 2: 13 even states that “mercy triumphs over judgement.” Many people who are turned off by Christianity or the Christian Church state the number one reason is the hypocrisy of the people they have met. A judgmental person is certainly not one to attract someone into wanting to know more about Jesus Christ, who himself was the exact opposite of judgmental, but rather was full of grace and mercy. He always had time for the lowly, the despised, the so-called “sinners” of society that the Pharisees looked down upon, but whom Jesus always spent time with.
Jesus’s mercy led to many wonderful stories of salvation throughout the Bible. Jesus offered mercy and forgiveness and grace to those people of low position, societal outcasts or immoral pasts the hope of a new beginning, free of condemnation. In fact, Romans 8:1-2 points out that one of the greatest benefits we receive by accepting Christ into our life as Savior is to be free from the condemnation of the world: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” The Samaritan women at the well in John 4 is a stunning revelation of the length that Jesus goes to offer mercy instead of judgement. Though she was a Samaritan, someone Jews were not even supposed to associate with, and who had been looking for love in all the wrong places, as evidenced by her 5 failed marriages, Jesus didn’t condemn her, rather he had mercy and extended her an invitation to drink from the well of the living water, Himself, from which she will never grow thirsty again. The same mercy is extended in John 8 with the adulterous woman. People wanted to put her to death for her sinful act, but Jesus offered mercy and left them wallowing in their own hypocrisy when he said “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7 Can you imagine how foolish they all felt as they slowly walked away? Why am I so quick to judge others? Why are we as a whole so quick to want to cast judgement on others? Does it make us feel better about ourselves? Is it a result of the divisive media pitting right vs. wrong on every issue? Jesus shows us a better way. Mercy indeed triumphs over judgement!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help rid us of any judgement in our hearts. Who are we to be judgmental of anyone when we are in fact sinners ourselves? If it wasn’t for your great grace and mercy, and atoning sacrifice on the Cross, we would have no hope at all. May we be slow to judge others, but through the Holy Spirit be quick to judge ourselves and to repent and move away from our sinful behaviors, including judging others, and move back into a right relationship with you. Help us to show a hurting world your mercy, love and grace through our kindness and patience and long suffering. Help us, through our mercy, live lives that glorify you and how you lived on this earth. Amen!