If God’s mercy triumphs over judgment and we are supposed to look like Him, it’s time for many of us to rethink our paradigms. We are so quick to release condemning judgments over people and situations where we just don’t have all of the facts, but we have been called to something else entirely.
Father God sent Jesus to earth with power and authority as a representative of the Godhead and of another kingdom. In the same manner, with the same commission and same authority, Jesus, having risen to be with the Father, now sends us to finish what He started (Jn. 20:21). But what does that look like? Well, one of the main ministries that Jesus walked in was that of revealing the Father’s heart. He went after the prodigals in an effort to reconcile them to their heavenly Father. Case and point, the most perfect man who has ever walked the earth, the sinless one who is literally repelled by sin, stands before an adulterous woman who was caught in the very act. (Jn. 8:1-11) Being perfectly sinless (and being God didn’t hurt), He did have the right to release a condemning judgment, but instead He treats her as a daughter and says, “neither do I condemn you.” Who is this God and what has He called us to walk in!? To further drive the point home, Jesus gives us the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15. When the son finally came to his senses, how did the father respond? Understanding that the son had just tarnished the family name and squandered much of the family’s resources, the father most certainly had the right to execute punishment and bring this matter to justice, but what happens? It says that when he saw his son, he had compassion on him. He rejoiced at his return and ultimately gave him what he did not deserve (the best robe and the family ring on his finger). The father immediately welcomed him back into the family and under his covering (restoring sonship), never once releasing a railing judgment. The father seemed to be more concerned about his son than he was his name and his reputation. I believe the Lord is calling us to walk in a place of compassion where we are more concerned about the person standing in front of us than we are our own reputations….what people will think if they saw us associating with them. In fact, contrary to our typical mode of right and wrong and black and white, Jesus has actually called us into the ministry of reconciliation. Listen to this passage.
2Cor.5:18-20 Now all these are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
It’s interesting that Paul calls this the “ministry of reconciliation, because the word ministry brings with it the strong connotation of service. You can’t make yourself out to be better than others when you have taken the position as servant. Yet, this is exactly what we do when we release condemning judgments over people. From a place of pride, we are positioning ourselves over that person. In essence, we are saying, “I would never do that.” But the bible actually says,
1Cor.10:12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.
The most fascinating part of our ministry of reconciliation is the fact that, like Jesus, we are called to not “count their trespasses against them.” (Vs. 20) It’s hard, once we have eyes of truth to see with eyes of compassion, but that’s exactly what He is calling us to. The truth of God’s compassionate heart towards people trumps the truth of right and wrong. Do they deserve punishment? Of course….we all do, but mercy literally triumphs over judgment.