Because judgment is coming! James 2:12-13: “So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.”
In these verses, the instructions are directly related to the sin of “discrimination.” First, “speaking” was part of their sin. They said to the rich man, “Here’s a good seat for you,” they said to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet.” So often it is in our words that the prejudices in our hearts are exposed. Our words to and about others can show concern and compassion, or our words can be filled with criticism and bitterness.
Second, “doing” was part of their sin, since they ushered the rich and the poor to their respective seats. Ultimately, our prejudices cause us to treat men differently. If we love all, our lives will show it. It was once said that we must bind the Bible in shoe leather. In reality, we only believe as much of the Bible as we practice.
I do not know of any more terrifying phrase than this: “judgment without mercy!” It is better to be in the storm without adequate clothing, it is better to be lost in the wilderness without compass and food, it is better to be floundering in the icy ocean with no hope of rescue than to face judgment without mercy!
Judgment without mercy means certain condemnation! All of us are sinners (Romans 3:23); without mercy we are lost! Jesus gave the positive side of this principle in Matthew 5:7 – “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” James gives the negative. “If we show no mercy, we will receive no mercy.” If we are not sensitive to the needs of others, God will not be sensitive to our needs. If we have no seat for the weary, we will have no place by the throne of God. If we have no compassion for the downhearted, we will receive no compassion in eternity!
How we speak and how we act will largely be determined by the attitudes within our hearts. How do we really feel about other people? About other races? About other classes of people? Is it possible that the earth is shrinking faster than our hearts are expanding? It has been said that prejudice comes in many shapes and sizes, and that there is at least one size to fit each of us.
Let us look into the mirror of God’s word and be brutally frank with ourselves. May God help us to remove prejudice and show mercy so we can look forward with great anticipation to the coming judgment! Are you ready for the Day of Judgment?
“We are all the same at the foot of the cross. Don’t exalt someone because of their status in life, nor look down on someone because of their position in life. We must be able to walk with kings and not lose the common touch.”
Proverbs 22:2 – “Rich and poor have this in common; the Lord is the maker of them all.”