(Optional Reading: James 2:12-13)
A few days ago, I wrote about the idea of Loving Revenge. The idea of revenge through love goes against the common idea of an eye for an eye. We do not have to repay evil with more evil. Today’s reading in “30 Days with Wesley” and the scripture reading continue to echo this way of thinking for Christian living.
“In every way, then, speak and act as people who will be judged by the law of freedom. there will be no mercy in judgement for anyone who hasn’t shown mercy. Mercy overrules judgment.” (James 2:12-13)
Basically, James is saying mercy gets mercy and no mercy gets no mercy. I keep thinking of this in math terms. A = A and B = B, but A does not = B. Jesus even speaks about this same concept in many of his parables. One in particular is the parable of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21-35). In this parable, a ruler forgives a servant of a debt that he would have never been able to pay back (In today’s values, it would have been millions of dollars). Then the servant goes out and runs into a fellow servant who owes him a couple dollars. The forgiven servant doesn’t forgive the small debt but has the man thrown in jail. In the end the ruler hears of the forgiven servants actions and reinstates his debt and throws him in jail.
Jesus calls people to live a life that is one of forgiveness and full of mercy. He calls people to this for a couple reasons. First, it is because he has forgiven us and shown mercy upon us. Jesus has cleared a debt of sin that none of us could ever pay back. Second, he shows us mercy and forgives so that we may turn and do likewise to those around us.
Mercy gets mercy. If we live a life of mercy and forgiveness to those around us, James writes that we will receive the same treatment from God. At the same time, if we live like the unforgiving servant and do not show mercy and forgiveness to others, God will not show us mercy and forgiveness.
A = A and B = B, but A does not = B.
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those
who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and forever.