30 Days With Wesley – Day 16: Mercy Gets Mercy

136(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.

Amen.

30 Days With Wesley – Day 3: Count Your Blessings

john-wesley-1(Optional Reading: Romans 13:11-14)

I have a confession to make. I am an American. This might not come as a shock to you but it is true. Part of being American means I live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. This fact sometimes hinders me in my self reflections. James 1:17 states, “Every good gift, every perfect gift, comes from above. These gifts come down from the father, the creator of the heavenly lights, in whose character there is no change at all.” So as a Christian, I believe that all good things come from God. They are blessings from God.

  Here is where it gets tricky for me. I am an American. I have a great job. I live in a house. I never go a day without food. A lot of these things I have obtained because of my actions of working and getting paid, then going out and purchasing these things.

Now, before you get upset, I am not trying to say that everything I have has not come from God. I am trying to show how it is difficult at times to remember that God is the giver of all Good things. At times, I forget to give God the credit for the blessings He has given me, because the blessing is a result of things I chose to do, but they are still a blessing from God.

If you are like me and have this same struggle. I think it is good to go back to the basics. What are the foundations of life and living that go unnoticed in our everyday lives. Then give God praise for those things.

I thank you for air and the ability to breath.

I thank you for a mind that can think and rationalize.

I thank you for the ability to move and talk.

I thank you for the ability to make choices.

I thank you for the skills I have that give me the ability to work and provide for my family.

I thank you for my family.

I thank you for saving me from my sin.

 

God may we live a life of constant thanksgiving. In the times that we forgive to give you praise, will you remind us of all the blessings you have give to us that we need to live from day to day. Thank you for sending your son to set us free from our lives of sin and destruction. Thank you for love us so deeply.

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.

Amen.