“If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.” (James 2:8-9, ESV)

Mercy, real mercy is in short supply in our world. This is true even in some Christian Churches. What passes for mercy in our world is really tolerance and there is plenty of tolerance of what the Bible deems to be sin, but what our culture calls an “alternate life-style.” Our culture is so overly tolerant of sin that it seldom judges anything. And those sins our culture does recognize such as child abuse, racism, and mass shootings, do not merit mercy. They deserve only condemnation and punishment. There is no lack of judging, condemnation, hatred, holding grudges and taking revenge. Believers and nonbelievers alike love to judge and condemn those who do not agree with their politics, social agendas, worldview or personal preferences. Mercy, they would claim, is only for those we like or love, those who agree with our views, not for our enemies.

For mercy to be given, one must acknowledge the seriousness of sin, before he or she can choose to forgive the guilty and spare them their just punishment. These words of James encourage us to have such mercy on others. Mercy fulfills the royal law of God’s kingdom. Condemnation and withholding forgiveness do not. Judgment without mercy will fall on all who do not show mercy. What we sow, we reap. If we sow hatred and bitterness we will reap the same. People will treat us the way we treat them. Didn’t Jesus Himself say “Judge not lest you be judged? For with the judgment you judge, you shall be judged.” He also taught us “Forgive us as we forgive others.” If we want to change the world and win people for Christ we must extend to others the mercy shown to us. We must show the world that the church is different. We have to show that the love and mercy of God exists in the body of Christ, that Jesus is alive in us, that He has changed us and He can change them too. Our faith must express itself in actions as well as attitudes and words. And in this way we can help people see that Jesus is God, that He alone is the Savior of the world.