I’ve been talking about heart language. We receive everything from God through the heart, and we’re to connect with others through the heart. Our minds are to be renewed in order to receive what our heart already knows. The problem with head-knowledge is that we tend to become judgmental, legalistic, tribal, treating people according to their behavior, their social status, rather than according to who they are to God.
Consider the following passage:
10 Jesus went to Matthew’s house and made himself at home. Many other tax collectors and outcasts of society were invited to eat with Jesus and his disciples.
11 When those known as the Pharisees saw what was happening, they were indignant, and they kept asking Jesus’ disciples, “Why would your Master dine with such lowlifes?”
12 When Jesus overheard this, he spoke up and said, “Healthy people don’t need to see a doctor, but the sick will go for treatment.”13 Then he added, “Now you should go and study the meaning of the verse:
I want you to show mercy, not just offer me a sacrifice.
For I have come to invite the outcasts of society and sinners, not those who think they are already on the right path.” (Matt.9:10-13 TPT*)
On the last line, the implication here is that Jesus came for those who recognize their need. But those who think they have no need have closed their hearts, so they won’t receive anything from Jesus.
That is the essesnce of how heart language works.
Another “mercy” verse I’m thinking of is “Mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2:13b). My experience has been that we’re a lot better at the latter than the former.
The problem with being all about sacrifice and outward obedience is that it makes us judgmental…and hypocritical (Matt.7:5). The Pharisees were very disciplined and they strictly obeyed the Law…of course, they crucified Jesus. Our biggest blind spot is that we will always favor rules that favor us and minimize those that don’t. I will want grace for myself, but not for you if you do something I don’t like.
And when we become the judge, we are judged accordingly.
“Refuse to be a critic full of bias toward others, and you will not be judged. 2 For you’ll be judged by the same standard that you’ve used to judge others. The measurement you use on them will be used on you. (Matt.7:1-2 TPT)
Judging others is eating from the wrong tree. It’s the opposite of other-centered, self-giving love. When you become the judge, you take the place of God. Of course, you have also moved yourself away from mercy. Safety tip…don’t do that!
Here’s what Paul said:
What right do I have to pronounce judgment on unbelievers? That’s God’s responsibility. But those who are inside the church family are our responsibility to discern and judge…. (1 Cor.5:12 TPT*)
In other words, we, as the Church of Jesus Christ, are to take the “log out of our own eye,” and discern our own issues, not judge those on the outside.
3 Why would you focus on the flaw in someone else’s life and fail to notice the glaring flaws of your own?4 How could you say to your friend, ‘Let me show you where you’re wrong,’ when you’re guilty of even more?5 You’re being hypercritical and a hypocrite! First acknowledge and deal with your own ‘blind spots,’ and then you’ll be capable of dealing with the ‘blind spot’ of your friend. (Matt.7:3-5 TPT*)
The reason this is so important is because if I have no self-awareness of my own deep-seated issues, and have not recognized my need for healing of my own soul, this “log” will always prevent me from seeing others properly. I will alway project my own issues on to other people. And it’s usually not pretty.
And the funny thing is, when I fail to deal with my own issues, everyone else but me seems to know just what they are! So, I’m not really fooling anyone. I’m just proving to the world that my relationship with Jesus is superficial.
This doesn’t mean that self-discipline and following rules aren’t important, it means the unjudgmental kind of self-control is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal.5:22-23). Furthermore, if we’re going to love people like Jesus does, we’re going to have put their behavior aside and connect with their hearts, so that when they receive mercy instead of judgment they will open their hearts to Jesus and then He can heal them.
Mercy means not giving someone what they deserve, which also means we have to lay our rocks down. As Jesus told the religious legalists of His day, “He who is without sin cast the first stone.” The other-centered truth about love is, Jesus came for the sick, and we’re all sick somewhere in our soul. And this is why mercy always triumphs.