And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. – Exodus 33:19, NIV
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. – James 3:7, NIV
More and more I am aware of the judgmental attitude of people. It seems like no matter where we go, people are always telling us what’s best for us, even when what they think is best may not be best. From big things to small things, we live in a world where people are awash in their own opinions, concepts, and decisions about what we should do or not do.
In essence, judgment is deciding for someone else what we should or should not do in their situation. When we judge, we are disapproving of someone’s actions without experience or knowledge…not to mention we offer our perspectives without all the facts and without invitation to give input.
God is our Judge and is the only One with the right to judge us for our actions. Since God hasn’t died and left any one of us in charge, none of us are given the right to decide for others what they should do in a given situation. While by Divine knowledge God may give someone insight into a situation to provide a Word, He never gives us the right to speak out of turn in judgment. We are also commanded to follow God in the perception of mercy. Even with God’s right to judge, we learn of the incredible mercies of God. With the right to judge, why does God operate in mercy?
God operates in mercy because He knows the end from the beginning. As the all-knowing God, He knows the motives, reasons, and circumstances that surround our decisions. While we make the best decisions we can at the beginning of a situation, God already knows the end of it – where that decision will take us and the complications it will have. When we do our best and things turn sour, God knows we did the best we could with what we had to work with. In recognizing our hearts and motives, God looks upon us with mercy and compassion instead of just looking at an outcome.
The very thing that gives God full right to judge us is the very thing that makes God merciful.
We too need to step back and take an inventory of ourselves. God knows what is best for us. Nobody in our lives can tell us how to live and what decisions to make in every situation. Not even our leaders, as spiritual as they may be, always know what God is telling us and can relate with where God is taking us. Family, friends, and even those we pray with, worship with, or love may not understand the way we go – yet we must go as God leads anyhow. As we all go through these situations, we too must remember this when dealing with others. Sometimes we aren’t called to lecture, but to remain as a comforting and reassuring presence of God’s mercy in difficulties and trials.
When we’re in a mess, we almost always know and recognize it. Judgment doesn’t help; it only discourages. Mercy offers that hand of assistance so often needed, without even saying a critical word. It reminds us that God is always there, lifting us out of every discouraging pit.
Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance. – Jude 1:2, NIV
Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. – 1 Peter 2:10, NIV
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – Hebrews 4:16, NIV
(C) 2010 Lee Ann B. Marino. All rights reserved.