Mercy Triumphs Over Judgment

by Scarlett Stough

We assume wisdom occurs only in the mind as a result of gathering facts, weighing those facts, considering those nuggets of information, and then coming to a rational judgment. But in God’s description of wisdom, he includes compassion, mercy:

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is …full of mercy*….
James 3:17

As in Jesus’ day when he walked the earth as a human being, religious people often hold the non-religious and "un-churched" in contempt, thinking they are not worthy of friendship from such holy people as themselves. But,

…Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." Matthew 9:12-13

Jesus did not mean the religious leaders had no need of his spiritual healing; they were. They were sinners just like the people they looked down on with contempt. He warned them on a different occasion:

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees. You hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices…mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law…justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former."
Matthew 23:23

Jesus warns us today through James:

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!
James 2:12-13

Even though Jesus did say, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged," the context of Matthew 7:1-5, 15-20, shows he was talking about making judgments without the wisdom from heaven. We cannot get through life without making judgments, but we need to include mercy and truth, not just make unfounded assumptions.


For the Scripture References and related Bible Study Guide, go to Bible Study Guide: Full of Mercy.

*1656 eleos compassion (human or divine, especially active): mercy 28X…Eleos (1) is the outward manifestation of pity; it assumes need on the part of him who receives it, and resources adequate to meet the need on the part of him who shows it…. The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2001.


Volume 12 Issue 1 | Notes from Nancy | Women in Christ Commentary | Bible Study Guide | Abundance of the Heart | Exhortation | Book Review

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