"Mercy triumphs over judgment."
Four words with so much meaning. A lifetime of consideration and evaluation compressed into 8 syllables.
Those who judge will be judged; those who are merciful will be shown mercy. How often do I live in the light of this truth? I'd rather believe myself above condemnation, labeling others as I see fit and never stopping to think that in judging them, I am judging myself.
It's human nature to judge people at face value. It's kingdom nature to love and accept them without question. Jesus preached a radical message when He said "love your enemies" and He lived His everyday life according to this command - to such an extreme that He called sinners, the enemies of His perfect holiness, His friends! He knows the deepest, darkest sins and thoughts anyone has ever had. He is intimately acquainted with the depravity of humanity. He sees the depths of our hearts, and He not only loves us unconditionally, He gave Himself up to be crucified by the very people He came to save.
In order to forgive our debt, He had to pay it Himself. And He did, willingly, painfully. What kind of love is this? He didn't just show mercy to the most undeserving of criminals, He took the judgment we deserve on HIMSELF. He was punished, we go free.
Who am I, then, to judge anyone? I, who am equally guilty of death. A sinner in the company of sinners. How dare I think that I have the right to label, write off, or condemn anyone? How dare I think even for a second that I am more deserving of God's love and people's praise, that I got to where I am today by some greatness of my own?
I am nothing but for the grace of God. It is He who formed me, knew me before I was, saved me out of the darkness I didn't know I was in. He called me and worked in my heart so that I would be able to respond. I am here because He knows what is best for me far better than I do.
My pride must be crucified on His cross. He died so that I might be liberated from the burden of my sin; why do I insist on clinging to it so tightly? In Him there is grace and mercy and the fullness of life. In sin there is only misery, condemnation, estrangement from Him and those I love. I pray that I might live in a place where I understand my great and constant need for Him, for His mercy and forgiveness. I want to learn to extend that same grace and mercy to others, for I deserve it no more than they.
And may the good news of the gospel and the grace and freedom it brings be my only theme, all the days of my life.