If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker. 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.” James 2:8-13
Oh how we are all criminals, law breakers and sinners. For none of us are capable of keeping the law. It makes me incredibly grateful that God is so merciful. Through Jesus he withholds his punishment from us. Sometimes while reading the Old Testament it is hard to see God’s mercy. When reading through the prophetic writings it often sounds like God is a wrathful, all powerful God who brings judgement and allows suffering in order to bring his children back to him. Similarly in our own lives when we struggle or go through rough times it can feel like God’s judgement is coming down on you. God is just, he hates sin and thus judges all of humanity. This is part of God’s character. But God is also love and mercy.
In the Old Testament it is sometimes hard to see God’s love and mercy. It is there but ultimately Jesus coming to this earth was the ultimate display of his love and mercy. It is gift God wishes to be extended to all of humanity. This scripture reminds me once again that we are through God’s strength to attempt to keep his laws and commands. We are called to live Holy lives. But we have to realize we will fail. We all fail. I am incredibly thankful for God’s mercy. It is because of God’s mercy given to me a sinner that I attempt to not judge others and be merciful to others. I like to say I am not the judge. Because it is the truth. I am not the judge. Thus I do my best to show mercy even when I struggle inside myself to judge others or lash out to retaliate when someone has done something to upset me. Do I fail. Absolutely and I am grateful for God’s withholding his punishment each time I fail.
Do you see God as a merciful God? Are you attempting to show mercy to others? God is perfectly capable of disciplining his children and carrying out his judgements without our assistance. For he knows far more about each of us, our lives and the state of our hearts than we even know ourselves. That being said there is a difference between judging people and holding people accountable with love. It is possible to show mercy to others but also hold them accountable in love and kindness.