James said that mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:13). But why is this so? One reason is because this world would be insufferable without mercy. Just imagine a world where there’s no mercy given for any wrong you’ve might’ve ever done in your past. No forgiveness, no redemption, just judgment. Would you want to live in such a world? The problem is, we do seem to be living in such a world today.
This post is a continuation of my thoughts on mercy from a post I did awhile ago titled, “Mercy Always Triumphs.”
To show mercy is to show compassion or kindness. It’s the kindness of God that leads us to repentance (Rom.2:4). While grace is getting what we don’t deserve, mercy is NOT getting what we DO deserve!
A culture without mercy is a living hell on earth, and this pretty much describes the “woke” religion of cancel culture. I talked about this cult religion in “Uncovering the Wokish Beast.” Here’s what I said about it:
“Wokism is a virtue-signaling religious cult. It’s truly Orwellian. It redefines terms like “social justice” to disguise its vitriolic anti-white bigotry. It’s a religion without atonement, the very opposite of Christianity. For instance, instead of being forgiven for past sins, you’re canceled for any “un-woke” thing you’ve ever done in your past. It’s a cultural bully that foments fear, hatred and division instead of love and unity. “
The “woke” movement is cold and pitiless. They’re the “Scarlet Letter” Puritans of the 21st century, a culture of shaming and ostracizing and even erasing anyone who does not live up to their woke standard. And it doesn’t matter when you commited the violation, or whether you’re even sorry for it, there’s no forgiveness for your transgression. Cancel culture brings out the worst of human nature. It’s the opposite of love; it’s selfish, cold, and heartless. It’s Orwell’s thought police in a dystopian nightmare world.
But my question here is, what should our response be as followers of Jesus? For it is because of this human propensity for cruelty and judgmentalism that God requires the following of us all:
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8 NIV*)
Our God who is Love requires this of us because there is no true justice without mercy. Only vigilanti hatred and revenge. It’s always hypocritical and judgmental (Matt.7:1-5). We’ve taken the place of God as judge and have become a very cruel god indeed.
Jesus came into this world to give us freedom from sin and death, which includes freedom from this kind of relational hell. True freedom is a product of other-centered, self-giving love, which means treating others the way we would want to be treated ourselves.
12 “In everything you do, be careful to treat others in the same way you’d want them to treat you, for that is the essence of all the teachings of the Law and the Prophets. (Matt.7:12 TPT)
Think about it. If you did something wrong in your past, no matter how distant, how would you want to be judged? With understanding, patience, mercy, and forgiveness, or with cold unforgiving judgment?
This is why James said the following:
12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2:12-13 NIV)
Did you see that. We’re to speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom.
Yes, mercy triumphs over judgment because, even though we may fail, and others may fail us, His other-centered love never fails. This is true freedom.
Beloved, our culture is hurting like never before. I submit that what it really needs now is to see and experience mercy and grace through other-centered love. And the only way it’s going to see it is when we learn to walk in God’s love and grace and mercy ourselves.
9 “I love each of you with the same love that the Father loves me. You must continually let my love nourish your hearts. 10 If you keep my commands, you will live in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands, for I continually live nourished and empowered by his love. 11 My purpose for telling you these things is so that the joy that I experience will fill your hearts with overflowing gladness!
12 “So this is my command: Love each other deeply, as much as I have loved you. (John 15:9-12 TPT*)
Showing mercy and compassion is how we show that we are sons and daughters of our heavenly Father.
36 Overflow with mercy and compassion for others, just as your heavenly Father overflows with mercy and compassion for all.” (Luke 6:36 TPT)
Jesus told us that in this world we would suffer (John 6:33). There is unavoidable pain and sorrow and loss. And people will hurt one another and we’ll experience cruelty and injustice.
But there is hope! We should not dispair because Christ has overcome this world! And through our overcoming life in Christ, we can become salt and light to this dark and broken world that perhaps needs mercy now more than it ever has before.