James 2:1-13 – Mercy Triumphs

Read James 2:1-13

Breaking the law, God’s law isn’t anything we intend to do. At least for most of us. Sometimes it happens. When we do stumble, we look for God’s mercy and forgiveness. When we seek, we find it. God is merciful and he does forgive, so long as we have also shown mercy.

What are ways that we can show mercy? We can start by not holding grudges against others. We need to forgive and forget, just as our Father in heaven.

This passage also speaks a lot to our attitude toward others. Being judgmental is something we definitely should NOT do. We all do it though. The example given was really good, didn’t you think? Since I’ve read it before, I’m always convicted to be more attentive to the poor and needy, than to respond to the rich and sophisticated.

And isn’t it a good point that it is the rich who are the very ones who make our lives more difficult. They are the rule enforcers, and many of those rules are designed to help them, the rich, giving no mind to the needs and position of the poor, or even middle class sometimes. That is a bit of a frightening realization – nothing has changed. Unfairness still exists.

I like how we have here the simple reminder of the “royal” law. We may also know this as the “golden rule.” That is, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Yes, it’s Biblical, and what a good reminder. It sounds simple, but sometimes it is very difficult. Not everyone is lovable. I’m sure each of us knows someone who is stubborn, hateful, grumpy and mean. I could go on with adjectives, but it is set out clearly for us – love your neighbor! Period.

How can you be a better neighbor today?

Let’s pray. Lord and Father from above I thank you for this reminder. Your Word never returns empty, and today it has left an impression on me. Thank you that you have given me the resources to help those in need. Help me go beyond just the financial but to really be present for those less fortunate. Forgive me for times when I have not shown the mercy on others that would have been appropriate in your eyes. Forgive me for any hurtful things I may have said or done. Lead me to those people who need to hear from you today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 123 – Have Mercy

Read Psalm 123

I lift my eyes to you Lord.

We need our focus to be on God and everything else will fall into place. We need to cry out for mercy, and it will be given to us.

When I imagine true attention on God, I picture our dogs during training exercises. Those sweet little faces looking up at me, wanting to please and obey. They are so eager for the treat that awaits them as an reward for the appropriate response. There is almost a pleading in their expression.

How does it look when we look to God? Are we smiling with thanksgiving? Are we scowling with anger? Are we laughing with joy? Are we pleading for forgiveness? Are we expectantly waiting for direction?

We are probably all waiting for answered prayer of some kind or another. Maybe it’s for restored relationships, for healing from sickness, for clarity on a job change, for rescue from a dangerous situation, for peace, for financial security. We are all in the waiting boat. Where are our eyes while we wait?

Don’t you love how God’s word is always fresh? We may have read this same psalm a billion times, but each time there is something new, something fresh that is revealed. That’s why Bible studies with others can be so beneficial. We all see the same passage through different eyes, coming from different backgrounds with perhaps differing perspectives. We can learn so much from each other and how God is revealing himself to them.

So where are your eyes focused today? Do you want to do something about it? For me, I’m going to work harder at keeping my focus on God and not on the struggles or frustrations of the day.

Let’s pray. Lord, I cry out to you with thanksgiving for giving me life and breath. May I serve you and bless you with my words and actions today. Help me keep my focus on you. Help me shut out distractions. Use me to touch lives today. Have mercy on me and my household. In Jesus’ name. Amen.