God’s Mercy Rule

Dan DeGraff

READ : James 2:1-13

Mercy triumphs over judgment. (v. 13)

When I was younger I played Little League baseball. I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t very good, but I happened to be on some good teams. If you have had the opportunity to be on a good enough team (or play against one), then you might have experienced the “mercy rule.” This rule ends a game if one team is ahead by at least ten runs after four innings. The idea is to show mercy to the losing team by discontinuing the mismatch, thus sparing them more humiliation.

In today’s reading, James tells his audience to not honor the rich while dishonoring the poor, to follow the law to love your neighbors in every way, and to act as God has freed you from sin to act. The surface message is that they should be impartial, but the deeper message is that they shouldn’t even consider judging others. Judgment builds barriers in the minds of human decision making and prevents us from truly being able to be merciful.

In proclaiming that “mercy triumphs over judgment,” James offers both advice and encouragement. He also reveals that living into God’s covenant of love means caring about all who have been created in his image. We cannot play favorites and support only those who we deem deserving. Consider how great the score against each of us is, and meditate on how God’s great mercy can shape our acts of love daily.


Lord, may your mercy rule over the power of judgment.