I have been thinking a lot about mercy these days. Some people may even say that I have been thinking too much about as I’m constantly quoting James 2:13b: “Mercy triumphs over judgment”. In fact, it was this verse that the PRV church chose to decorate my ordination cake with (talk about an appropriate statement for a new pastor!).
Interestingly enough, my obsession with this verse can be traced back to a particular event at a particular time. It happened almost a year ago in May 2011 while at the Vineyard National Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. During that conference the Lord spoke those words to me as a prophetic word over our church and, I believe, over the entire Vineyard Movement.
At first I thought it was cool and neat…but those words really didn’t change very much…then about six months things begin to change.
All of a sudden those words, “mercy triumphs over judgment”, started flowing out of my mouth, my heart and my spirit. I couldn’t stop talking about God’s mercy or how it has defeated judgment and pain.
Now, I like I mentioned above, I am obsessed with those words and infused with a passion to walk in mercy every day. I wake up to those words; go to work with those words, sleep with those words… mercy triumphs over judgment, mercy triumphs over judgment, mercy triumphs over judgment, mercy triumphs over judgment, mercy triumphs over judgment, mercy triumphs over judgment, over and over and over…
I don’t know what God is doing or what He has planned for my life or for the church… I just know that something is coming down the pipeline and we are to stand firm on the grace, love, mercy, and blood of Jesus who has defeated evil and all the works of the evil one (1 John 3:8).
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Eph 6:12-13)
So what does James 2:13b, “mercy triumphs over judgment”, mean to me?
- Well, it means that God’s mercy triumphs over my judgment of myself. So often we get caught up in the lie that we are worthless…that we are good for nothing and are not worthy of being called children of God. Yet God’s mercy defeats all that through the blood of Jesus who came to destroy the works of the evil one. Shame no longer has a hold on us because of God’s mercy.
- God’s mercy also triumphs over the judgment of others. We are not to be controlled or held captive to the judgment of others. Instead we are to fear God who made us and walks with us and, as such, we are to push on ahead regardless of what others may think. The followers of Jesus are to welcome the outsiders and those bound by the chains of judgment and pain. God’s came to love and to set free everyone on this planet who would but turn and follow Him. Accordingly, we, as Jesus followers, are to be known by our love and compassion for everyone no matter how rich, poor, sick, healthy they are.
- Connected with this, the mercy of God also triumphs over the judgment of the evil one. Followers of Jesus are no longer bound by lies of the satan nor the chains of darkness. We “were full of darkness” but now we have “light from the Lord” (Eph 5:8). Sin and evil no longer have a hold of us.
- Last, but not last, “mercy triumphs over judgment” means that the mercy of God triumphs over God’s wrath for we are covered by the blood of Christ. We have died to sin and are now alive in Jesus, meaning that the wrath of God has been canceled out by His mercy.
To some people this focus on mercy can be scary as it means welcoming those whom we don’t like, or don’t agree with. It means loving and blessing our enemies, friends, family, outsiders, insiders and all in between.
It means staying close to Jesus and listening to His voice instead of realizing on rules or boundaries drawn in the proverbially. Yet, Jesus said that we, followers of Him, are to be known for our love for each other… James the Just tells us that we are to “speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom” (James 2:12).
And let’s not forget the prophet Micah who told us through the Spirit of God what He requires of us:
“To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” -Micah 6:8b
To be known as a person of mercy walking with a merciful King…yeah, that will work.
Come, Lord, come.