Wisdom Shows Mercy, Not Judgment
“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17 NIV).
Do you jump on people every time they make a blunder? Do you ever let people go, or do you keep hounding them about their mistakes? Do you hold them in leverage, even when they have asked for forgiveness?
Long-lost friends met at a convention and sat in the lobby all night talking. They knew they would be in trouble with their spouses, who were waiting back in their rooms When they saw each other the next day, one of the friends said, “I walked in the door last night, and my spouse got historical.” “Don’t you mean hysterical?” the other one asked. “No, historical,” the friend replied. “I was told everything I ever did wrong.”
Wise people don’t emphasize other people’s mistakes. The Bible says that wisdom is “full of mercy and good fruit.” It also says in Proverbs 17:9, “Love forgets mistakes; nagging about them parts the best of friends” (TLB). If you’re wise, you don’t rub it in. You let it go! This is what it means to have mercy: You give people what they need, not what they deserve. You don’t hold it over their heads. You don’t emphasize the mistake. You don’t judge them. You encourage them.
“Good fruit” means kind actions. You don’t just show sympathy. You don’t just say, “I feel for you.” You do something about it. You take action. You are a doer of the Word.
Mercy is always a better choice than judgment, because it shows you understand wisdom that comes from heaven.
Talk It Over
What does it mean to “emphasize” someone’s mistake?
Why is it tempting to point out other people’s mistakes and hold it over their heads?
What are some ways you can be merciful and show “good fruit” to others?
This devotional © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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