Playing Favorites (Part 2)

Susan Hetrick

Read: James 2:8-13

So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. (v. 12)

Kari was shocked when her 27-year-old daughter called her on a Monday last October, and told her that her wedding, scheduled for Saturday, was cancelled. The groom-to-be had called it off. Even though she was heartbroken for her daughter, Kari needed to decide what to do about the reception, which had already been paid for. She quickly made some phone calls, and sent out new invitations—to Sacramento’s homeless shelters. By 7:00 on Saturday evening, more than 90 people—homeless families, single people, grandparents, and children—filled the reception hall and feasted on salmon, steak, and luscious desserts. Among them Rashad and his wife, Erika, came with their five children. Rashad was grateful, saying “When you’ve been going through a hard time, this . . . this is really a blessing.” Erika agreed. “To lose out on something so important to yourself and then give it to someone else is really, really kind.”

Kari and her family truly loved their neighbors as themselves. According to James, this is the royal law that offers freedom—freedom to show mercy, and freedom from judgement. Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matt. 5:7). And, “for with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you” (Matt. 7:2). Show mercy then, because mercy triumphs over judgment!

—Susan Hetrick

Lord, teach us to love with mercy and without judgment.