Psalm 125 & Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23; James 2:1-18; Mark 7:24-37
Is your neighbor a jerk? A sinner? A heretic? Dead wrong about politics, or football, or what hour to mow the lawn? Are they the kind of people who (gasp) don’t like artichokes? Oh the horrors…
Mercy triumphs over judgment.
We need to be clear on our convictions, and hold to them firmly, and not let them get watered down, or lost, to the world’s subtle solvents, things like apathy or being too busy or getting distracted or just not wanting to rock the boat. But once our convictions start to sound like judgments, we’ve overstepped our pay grade. Only God gets to decide who’s so wrong that s/he’s beyond hope. Only God knows the innermost secrets of the human heart. Only God can invoke that mysterious unforgivable sin, ‘blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.’ Only God is entitled to write someone out of the Book of Life. Our task is to stand firm in our convictions while also being shockingly merciful to those who don’t live by the same set of beliefs, or who claim to live by them but don’t live up to them. Shockingly merciful. Actively merciful.
Mercy triumphs over judgment. And if your speech, your posts, your sources of news, your deeds and decisions, look like judgment and walk like judgment and quack like judgment…well, it’s time to change the dial on your soul’s radio to something else.