Well-Known Member
In today's world, mercy seems to be a long-forgotten word.

Just take a look around, and it doesn't take long to realize that this world is anything but "merciful." From lawsuits for the slightest of "offenses", to "road rage" and beyond, we see a society that is anything but merciful. Almnost everyone in this fallen world has taken it upon themselves to be "judge, jury", and in some cases, executioner.

Kind of reminiscent of ancient Israel:

"In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes." (Judges 21:25, emphasis mine)

It doesn't take much to get us going; deny us our "rights" or do something that we don't like, and we can become fireballs of wrath. And oftentimes, we are NOT nice about it; when push comes to shove, we can be downright nasty.

Sadly, this doesn't just apply to the unsaved.

In some churches that I have gone to, the most judgmental, unmerciful people that I have ever met have been "christians." One gentleman in particular seemd to appoint himself "church regulator", and made it a point to point out other's shortcomings and perceived faults to them, without any sort of consideration whatsoever.

(Needless to say, I didn't talk to him too much!)

To be honest, at one point or another, we can all be unmerciful; it doesn't take much. Our sin natures set us up for this, hardening our hearts and making us want to put ourselves above others in judgment.

In truth, we see our sins in others, and we end up reviling what we see in others. This is because the sin nature makes want to put ourselves in the position rightfully reserved for God. And when we someone that has committed the same sins as us, we judge them because we want excuse ourselves." I may be a sinner, but at least Im not as bad as THIS person. Look what THEY did!"

And we point the finger of accusation.

Now, at this point, you may be asking yourself: "WHY is he talking about JUDGMENT? I thought he was talking about MERCY?!" Well, judgment, mercy and forgiveness go hand-in-hand-in-hand. When we judge, the issues of mercy and forgiveness come into play: they are unavoidable, and inseperable.

Jesus ran into this issue as well, on more than one occasion. His most famous example was one we are all well accquainted with:

"Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." (John 8:1-11)

The Pharisees, well-known for condemning others, had pointed the finger of accusation at a woman caught in adultery. And judging from the fact that they had stones in their hands at the ready, mercy and forgiveness were the LAST thing on their minds!!! These men were out for blood, and nothing short of divine intervention was going to deter them...

Enter Jesus.

When it came time to execute judgment, Christ reminded them pointedly that if they were to do so, they had better be more righteous than the one that they were judging. At that point, they saw theselves the way God saw them, and it wasn't pretty!

So, one by one, they literally "dropped what they were doing" and left.

But before we come down hard on the Pharisees, we need to remember one thing: we can all get that way.

None of us are all that to scream home about; none of us are all that lovely.

"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.....For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Romans 3:10,23)

Now, before we go any farther, I am NOT saying that if someone commits a crime that they should just walk on this basis. God himself gave laws, and there were consequences when those were broken. But what I am saying is that before we jump to judge another or say what is in their hearts, we should first examine ourselves to make sure that our motives are pure first:

"Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye." (Matthew 7:1-5)

Mercy is in part realinzing that we are all human, and that we all sin. We are all under sin's curse. God knows we are frail and sin-cursed: "For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. " (Ps. 103:14) None of us are perfect.

The trick is REMEMBERING that when others wrong us.

And in truth, it is not our fellow human beings that are our enemies:

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Ephesians 6:12)

We live in a world that is sin-cursed from nearly the beginning. And Satan, that crafty adversary that dogs our every step, seeks to ruin our testimony and wreak as much havoc and mayhem as he possibly can. And if this means making us look unforgiving and cruel, so much the better.

So then, what is forgiveness?

Forgiveness is passing the issue from our hands to God's; we disqualify ourselves from judgment, and commit it to Jesus, where it rightly belongs. And by doing so, the anger and hatred that would fester within our hearts doesn't even get the chance to infect us. And we can then go on without harboring resentment or evil in our hearts.

In short, for us, it is letting God handle whatever is going on. We hate the sin, but not the sinner.

If this message seems somewhat disjointed, it is just as much a message to me as it is to anyone else. I above others tend to be judgmental and unforgiving, and it is something that God is helping me with. And I pray, everyone else as well.

Peace be with all of you.


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Staff member
Very good post, Robert. It is something we ALL need to constantly bring to mind.

It is so easy in "contending for the truth" to become judgmental and cold in our anger and outrage. But Jesus said, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."—John 13:35 Love is the chief characteristic of a mature Christian. After all, the Bible tells us that God is love (1 John 4:16). Not that He merely loves, but that He IS love. So as we become more like our Savior, we grow more and more in true love. Love of God ... and love of one's fellow man. Godly (agape) love is the result of the deep working of the Holy Spirit within. It brings with it the other fruit of faithfulness, gentleness, kindness, goodness, patience, peace, and an ever-abiding joy. Grow in grace and you will find the issue of judgmentalism—that all-too-ready Pharisaical spirit—will not be a problem.

Again, thanks for your post, brother. It prompted much good thinking.