February 16, 2013
Written by Daniel Hazard

Excerpt from James 2:1-13

"For judgement will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgement."

Reflection by Quinn G. Caldwell

Mercy always sounds to me like a word for bigger-deal people than I am.  If I were the king, I could be merciful.  If I held a loan that someone was having trouble paying off, I could be merciful.  If I were holding a sword and standing over a fallen foe, I could show mercy then, too.  It's hard to imagine li'l ole me being in any position to show mercy in day-to-day life, though.

James thinks differently.  He thinks it's a day-to-day kind of thing.

Maybe I didn't have to have such a big sigh when my partner forgot to bring home milk, even though he totally said he'd do it, and then totally didn't.

Maybe I didn't have to lay on my horn quite so harshly when that lady cut me off on the way to work this morning, even though she was obviously in the wrong.

Maybe mercy is about self-control, about choosing not to use power to convict someone (even tiny power, like a disappointed sigh or an angry horn blast), choosing not to vent one's spleen just because it feels good.

So today, I will try to be self-controlled.  I will focus more on relationships than being right, more on building others up than pointing out the ways they've wronged me.  Today, I will try to show the world the mercy I hope to one day receive when I find myself kneeling before the One with all the power.


God, please be merciful.  And let me be, too.  Amen.

About the Author
Quinn G. Caldwell is Pastor and Teacher at Plymouth Congregational Church, UCC, in Syracuse, New York, and co-editor, with Curtis J. Preston, of the Unofficial Handbook of the United Church of Christ, published by The Pilgrim Press.

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