Monday, August 31, 2009

Mercy Triumphs

So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty.For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:12-13

It seems on some days that the worse mistake a person can make is a fashion mistake. There are scads of programs that do make-overs on people who are judged to be incapable of dressing themselves. Friends and family send in their loved one's name so that they might be shamed into dressing well. The goal of the program is to bring out the true beauty in the individual, but the judgment and shaming come before mercy. The personal attack and humiliation comes before folks are rebuilt and restyled. I am both horrified and fascinated. Who would do such a public thing to someone they love? And who would let people do this to them? Is it all about the money always? I am one of those people who, when approached with criticism and humiliation, shrinks into the woodwork or runs away. I am not open to any makeover at that point. Even if the person thinks they are helping, I can't take them in for my shame.

The danger of these days for me is that as a society we find some pleasure in judging others and doing so very publicly. The problem for me is that when there is judgment and criticism of others for their shortcomings, there is no room for mercy. And when there is mercy, there is the potential for everything. A gentle loving hand brings around the best reform. And we live in a world that seems to crave a harsh judgment and which revels in the downfall of others. Someone makes a lot of money on the humiliation of others.

Today, I want to live a life of mercy - towards others and for myself. It is too easy to criticize. It is part of the environment we live in. So today, I want to live counter culturally, without judgment. I want to live by mercy, knowing that God dwells in mercy and forgiveness. And I wish for God to dwell with me today - in mercy and forgiveness.

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