Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:12, 13
A young mother was recently sharing a note her child had written on the occasion of a disappointing grade, “I did my best.” I don’t know about you, but those few words brought tears to my eyes. If they touched me so deeply, I’m thinking our heavenly Father is often moved when we fail even though we’ve done our best.
Think of how our behaviors and interactions would be altered when someone comes up short in our measuring scheme if we extended mercy and not criticism. If we embraced them with God’s love and not our selfish, petty condemnation. We assign this and that motive to actions (or inactions) of which we disapprove, and then we behave accordingly. We cut people off because they don’t meet our standards or they hurt our feelings or they don’t respond as we expect.
But WHAT IF, instead of judging and punishing, we begin to say, “He/she did her best.” Sure, I can think of all the reasons people behave as they do – their family backgrounds, their experiences, their education (or lack), their culture, their traditions… And so, what difference does all that make if we really want to love them with God’s love and if we want to respond the way we want God to respond to us?
Father, you told us that we are to do to others as we’d have them do to us. Help us to give up our gavel and robe and instead say, “She did her best.” In Jesus’ name. AMEN.