Who Gets to Define “Mercy”?

For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2.13)

I not only believe this verse, I also tremble at it’s significance knowing how easy it is to strongly desire, wish for, beg for and even bank on God’s mercy in my own life and the lives of those I love.

How simple and quick we are to demand such for ourselves, our family and friends -but not do likewise for those we believe to be an enemy or in some way, threatening! Do you find this true in your life as I do in mine?

Then again, what you or I think looks, feels like and truly -is- mercy in situations A through Z may be quite different. Or you and I may agree.

God may agree or disagree with either or even both of us on any particular issue.

So… WHO gets to define “mercy”?

I’d say Jesus on the cross defines it amazingly well… equally so re. walking out of the grave Easter morning. Even the fact you and I can  read this post, have a brain with the ability to consider it even to the extent that we might be agents of what HE might consider genuine mercy to others.

But sometimes God doesn’t seem merciful. I say that as one of His kids, a follower of Jesus, even as a pastor who loves and seeks Jesus on a daily basis.

So do you think while Jesus was on the cross it was at all about His mercy towards us? Did it feel like mercy towards Him personally? Hmmm.

There are times when what seems completely UNmerciful in retrospect was genuine mercy indeed though it sure didn’t seem like it at the time.

Over and over this rings true in my personal experience.

Then there is the flap over whether The Bible can be trusted to define “mercy” or anything else. My belief? It is THE ground of definitions. And it’s an easy shot to tell you the Book is FAR more consistent than mere human constructs about defining what love, life and authentic mercy is.
Just like grace, mercy doesn’t always feel like a warm, fuzzy kiss and embrace. Sometimes it’s more like a head-on collision, sometimes it includes blood and nails.

I am convinced God is best at defining what He is the best and ultimate source -of-. You and I on the other hand…?!

Thanks for stopping by 🙂 -Glenn

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