S84P2 – As mercy reigns: judgment falls

Jam. 2:12-13

So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Ever since preschool he was the biggest kid in his class.  Even from a young age he was keen to use his size to his advantage.  It started by taking small liberties like skipping ahead in line.  As he progressed through grade school his liberties became more ruthless.  Intimidation was his game, and he enjoyed seeing others look at him in fear.  This all changed when he set his eyes on the new kid, a little guy who did not have a mean bone in his body.  He terrorized that kid until his older brother came to his defense.  Now the big kid was outsized, and he was the one looking for mercy which was not to be found.  

James makes a statement here that seems a little strange.  He tells us that living as if we will be judged by the law is what will bring us mercy.  It seems like he is telling us that living under judgment brings mercy, but that is not exactly it.  This is about the character of those who live as if the law will judge them.  They will follow the law, and following the law requires giving mercy to others, and that is the point.  If we live as those who were under the law then we will follow the law and exhibit God’s character, his grace, through our obedience to it.  Walking in his character bring his favor; showing his mercy brings us his mercy in return.  Those who cannot withhold judgment place themselves under it, so we must not practice it. 

We are no longer under the law, but that does not mean that there is no value in living according to it.  Of course, it is only by God’s grace that we can live by His character.  That is our great example of mercy.  He grants mercy to the merciful, but they are merciful only because He makes it possible.  He gives us what we need to be merciful, and then He is merciful to us simply because we use what He has given us.  It is all him; we need only submit.  By that submission we gain the freedom to deal with others as we would like him to deal with us.  We should desire that mercy would reign in us as must as we desire that it reign over us.  Father, increase in us our capacity to be merciful toward others that we would be confident in your mercy toward us.