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The Essence of Discipleship (part 5) (by Wil Cunningham)

The Essence of Discipleship (part 5)

Reading: MAT 5:7, MAT 5:43-48; MAT 6:14-15; MAT 7:1-5; JAM 2:12-13
Every action has a consequence. Anything that we think, say or do will have an impact either good or bad in our lives. However, today’s reading shows that it is possible for us to escape judgment that is due us. There are only two ways to be free from judgment. The first is to be righteous in every detail. Scripture makes it clear that no man or woman lives up to this standard (ECC 7:20; JAM 2:10; JAM 3:2). The other way to escape judgment is to receive mercy from the One who judges. We are entitled to mercy for having believed in the sacrificial death of Christ in our place. However, God will not let His mercy allow us to continue in destructive behaviors. He will permit the consequences of our actions in life in order to teach us His ways and shape our lives. To those who are apathetic to God’s plan and purpose discipline will be strict. To those who are committed to godly character discipline will be tempered with mercy. No single trait shows godly character more than mercy. So to those who are merciful God’s dealings with them will be covered in mercy.
It is a naturally human trait to judge those around us. We are quick to point out the shortcomings of others. In some cases we may not even realize we are being judgmental. A general guideline to follow is to only say about others what is complimentary and to only say about ourselves what is necessary. If our conversations promote self and degrade others we have not yet learned mercy. So how can we become merciful?
If we are judging another it is clear that we are comparing them to some standard that we have devised. Often we compare another’s weakness to our own strength. Righteous comparison looks at who we are in comparison to the absolute standard of God’s holiness. By this comparison we are all deserving of death. In addition, if we truly look at others according to their struggles, desires and experiences we can often see that we may act exactly the same in similar circumstances. These two realizations leave us with no place to judge and no place to criticize. We are all sinful, we are all lost and whatever good may have come in my life has come because of God who has blessed me. As He has shown me mercy I also must show mercy to others. In so doing I have fulfilled the law (MAT 22:37-40) and shown myself to be a child of God (MAT 5:45). God, seeing our desire to serve Him and the love in our hearts will ensure that our own lives become a testimony to the depth of His love and the greatness of His mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment!
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