Mercy Always Wins In The End

by | May 27, 2014 | Book of James | 0 comments

I have a friend who is a lawyer. Apart from learning many things from my esteemed friend I have learned this principle. He once told me that pure justice is exacting and merciless. What pure justice is concerned about is applying the letter of the law to whatever the offense is.

I have thought about this many times in my life, especially when I have found myself wanting someone to get what I believed that person deserved. I have echoed the words that the punishment should fit the crime and that mercy should never be brought into consideration.

Yet isn’t it interesting that we ourselves would want mercy and consideration when we are not necessarily quick to extend to others that same consideration. There is often a different measuring stick when it comes to our own “lawbreaking” than what we would wish to extend to others.

I do believe in justice and the rule of law. Without it there would only be lawlessness and anarchy. I am further grateful for those  who enforce our laws and protect our freedoms and security by their vigilance.  I do have to be honest and confess that I am not always grateful when I am caught by those who enforce our laws. Last fall I was caught speeding. My mother was nearing her final days  and my mind was on her situation. I could have tried to plead my case with the officer but I was guilty regardless of what was going on in my personal life. The law required that the fine be uncomfortable and that I would lose points. In that moment I was thankful for justice that was tempered by mercy. The officer both saved me money and points. I was guilty but was shown mercy.

I reflect on this lesson that my friend taught to me. James reminds me that “judgement is without mercy if I show no mercy. Mercy does triumph over judgement” (2:13)  Yet isn’t that what Easter is about? I am as guilty as sin but shown mercy. Can I do any less for those around me?


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Dave Griggs, MDiv

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