James 2:8-13

            Mercy triumphs over judgment.  Oh, that our lives and our churches would be characterized by that short, powerful, and true biblical phrase!  The basest reality for us all as fallen human beings is that we sin.  Our common lot is that we do sinful things as well as leave good things undone.  Yet, God’s mercy is from everlasting to everlasting.

            These verses from the Apostle James let us know that when certain persons lose sight of their own sinfulness and sit in judgment upon others that they have no ground to stand on.  If any of us show partiality to others in order to get ahead or to receive undue attention; if we speak ill of others; if gossip, slander, or back-biting is a spectator sport for us; then we are in the same league as murderers and adulterers as law-breakers.

            I often say that grace trumps everything.  It is a wonderful truth and reality.  As believers in Jesus we need to show mercy and help others instead of looking down our nose upon them.  Any given local church really ought to be a safe place for people to be vulnerable about their struggles, their pain, and their feelings without being condemned for their questions and wonderings.  All people are to be valued and respected through empathic listening and basic concern.

            Taking the time each day to reflect upon Scripture and to put it into practice is a daily spiritual discipline that will reap great rewards.  It will plant a gracious and merciful spirit down deep in the soul so that we honor God and are a blessing to the church and the world.

            Let your steadfast love come to me, O LORD, your salvation according to your promise; then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me, for I trust in your word.  And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, for my hope is in your rules.  I will keep your law continually, forever and ever, and I shall walk in a wide place, for I have sought your precepts.  I will also speak of your testimonies before kings and shall not be put to shame, for I find my delight in your commandments, which I love.  I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes.  Amen.

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