Judgement and Mercy

Judgement and Mercy

How do I have practical mercy when someone is taking advantage of me?

Having a spirit of mercy does not mean that you indiscriminately allow people to mistreat you. If someone hits me, I need to turn the other cheek as Jesus taught. In other words, I should not retaliate, and I should bear injury; but I will step out of the way if possible. When the crowd was seeking to throw Jesus off the cliff, He evaded the crowd.

If someone is taking advantage of you physically, financially, or otherwise, it is important to recognize the balance of scripture. Part of mercy is forgiving the person who is causing the injury. We must commit that person to the Lord and fully forgive them, no matter how many times they trespass against us. However, that does not mean we need to invite the murderer into the house with our children nor do we give the thief the key to our door. We are to be good stewards of that with which God has entrusted us. Sometimes that means lifting a standard of judgment and establishing guidelines and parameters that must be followed. In those times, we must always maintain a spirit of love. Where there is injustice in the world, we must know that mercy does not have the power to reconcile, but it makes provision for reconciliation.

How do you reconcile holding a standard of truth with having mercy on others?

My soul is in my hand. I have not the power to change other people, but I have the power by grace to live a holy life in truth before God. We must not compromise righteousness in our own lives because of others around us. Part of the standard of truth would then be having mercy on others who are not living righteously. We should put forth much effort in demonstrating love for others who are not living godly lives.

A lesson that is important for Christians to learn is that acceptance does not mean approval. We can accept someone and love them without condoning their actions. Consider this, if there is no truth to uphold, there is no mercy to extend. Mercy is not needed as much for the one who is doing everything right; it is needed for the one who is making mistakes.

Psalm 85:10 says, “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” The truth of righteousness exposes sin and requires judgment. Mercy on the other hand seeks peace and restoration.  Through Christ, truth and mercy met at Calvary, and in that meeting place we found salvation. We want mercy and truth to merge in our lives as well. Preach, teach, and live the truth that others might see the way of truth; and yet, have mercy and compassion on them in their error. It is that mercy that will draw them to the truth, not a spirit of self-righteousness.

Truth and mercy, or judgment and mercy, are not mutually exclusive. Having righteous judgment, as Christ taught, does not negate mercy.