James Mercy

“For judgment will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy;
Mercy triumphs over judgment.” 
Excerpt from James 2:1-13

Have you ever thought about mercy? About how it sounds or how it should be employed? Some believe that mercy sounds like a word for bigger-deal people than I am. If I were the king, I could be merciful. If I held a loan that someone was having trouble paying off, I could be merciful. If I were holding a sword and standing over a fallen foe, I could show mercy then, too. It’s hard to imagine li’l ole me being in any position to show mercy in day-to-day life, though.

James thinks differently. He thinks it’s a day-to-day kind of thing. He looks at each of us saying that mercy is a gift for us to offer each and every day to the big and little, the large and the small people and circumstances of life.

Maybe I didn’t have to have such a big sigh when Shirley forgot to bring home my favorite ice cream (that I don’t need), even though she totally said she’d do it, and then totally didn’t. Like totally???

Maybe, after a long, tiring day, I didn’t have to lay on my horn quite so harshly when that lady cut me off out on I-Crazy, even though she was obviously in the wrong.

Maybe mercy is about self-control, about choosing not to use power to convict someone (even tiny power, like a disappointed sigh or an angry horn blast), choosing not to vent just because it feels good.

So today, perhaps I need to try to be self-controlled. I will focus more on relationships than being right, more on building others up than pointing out the ways they’ve wronged me. Today, I will try to show the world the mercy I hope to one day receive when I find myself kneeling before the One with all the power. Isn’t that the James mercy?

Dear God, please be merciful. And let me be, too.  Amen.

Grace and Peace


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