“Mercy triumphs over judgment” James 2:13A participant in one of our BUILD groups has moved into the neighborhood near our East Garfield Park campus. He was reflecting on a significant change in attitude he experienced after getting to know the struggles of his neighbors. A fourteen-year-old girl in the community told him she was pregnant and was considering having an abortion. While he is solidly anti-abortion, her situation caused him to have an internal struggle.
“It’s easier to be judgmental,” he said, “because then you can just walk away. My wife and I had to think long and hard before we could say to her that if she would have the baby we would be there to help her to raise it. We knew that would mean a significant long term sacrifice from us. She has had the baby and we are helping her. It’s costing us.”
The word for judgment means “a separating, sundering, separation”. Mercy means “kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them”. It is easier to separate ourselves from others, isn’t it, to dismiss them as lazy, or unworthy sinners, undeserving of our help? Then we can walk away in our self-righteousness and not be bothered by the messiness of broken lives.
God calls us to be merciful, to walk alongside those in trouble so that they can experience God’s mercy in the same way we have. That may cost us something.