Are You Merciful?
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.
Our culture dances around the truth on a regular basis, but not James; he gives you both barrels all the time. Today he’s warning true Believers as well as those who merely “go to church” about the consequences of their actions.
For the Believer, James has begun to address the fact that your works validate your faith. A changed follower of Christ lives a changed life. The two should go hand-in-hand. But his bigger point revolves around the issue of mercy. John MacArthur picks up on this with a rather strong statement:
“You show me a person who shows no mercy, who has no compassion, who shows favoritism and partiality and disregard for people with need and I'll show you a person who will have no mercy in judgment. Why? Because they're not a converted person. They're not a redeemed person.”
Compassion and mercy should mark a true Christian’s life. Are you quick to judge another’s heart? Are you quick to condemn but slow to show mercy? As a parent, this is even more challenging. Yes, discipline is required, but so is mercy. If your life is characterized by mercy, then you have no need to fear judgment. If it isn't, then judgment awaits you.