Mercy Me

Jen Petersen

Read: James 2:8-13

Mercy triumphs over judgment. (v. 13)

I have a bad habit of twisting small sections of my hair. It’s a way for me to keep my fingers busy and I do it without thinking. A few years ago, I was at a meeting during which a woman kept pulling a nail file out of her bag, filing one fingernail, and then putting it away. She must have done this at least 20 times.

Later that day, I described her behavior to my husband and expressed how distracting and disrespectful I found it. He just stared at me for a minute, probably debating whether to point out my own distracting habit. He eventually did and at first, I was offended, defending why my habit was far less offensive. But, of course, I was wrong. It was easy for me to point out someone else’s bad habit, but it’s harder for me to notice and take ownership of my own.

We all do this, saying to ourselves, “Well, at least I’m not like so-and-so!” But none of us are perfect. Aside from a magistrate, none of us are in a position to judge another. And the only other one who is, Jesus, is full of mercy, not judgment! We’ve all received more mercy than we realize. Imagine what our world would look like if we could all extend the mercy we have received to those around us. Maybe it would even be a little easier to believe that God is merciful if we could show mercy and grace to one another in Jesus’ name. —Jen Petersen

As you pray, ask God to turn your judgment into mercy.