Day 3

Mercy Triumphs Over Judgment

from the James reading plan

James 2:1-13, Zechariah 7:9-10, Matthew 7:1-5, Romans 13:8-10

BY Guest Writer

Scripture Reading: James 2:1-13, Zechariah 7:9-10, Matthew 7:1-5, Romans 13:8-10

With the precision of a surgeon’s knife, the Holy Spirit sliced into my heart, convicting me. It caught me off guard—my sin of favoritism.

Hours before, I’d watched a video on discrimination alongside my ministry team. The clip highlighted how easily we can fall into judging and favoring others. To further illustrate the point, we were divided into two different groups based on one aspect of our lives, something we had no control over: our eye color. People with blue eyes were to be treated differently than those with brown eyes.  

Soon comments and accusations were flying back and forth. The responses of those discriminated against felt strangely satisfying to me. One woman in particular spoke with such disdain; her condescending attitude only proved her lack of awareness of those who live in the margins every day. I confess I was happy to have her sit in the back of the room as a member of the “discriminated” group, so she could experience a lack of equity.

The next day, our group entered into a time of prayer, confession, and lament. That’s when God opened my eyes in a new way to Galatians chapter five, where Paul lists the works of the flesh: enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy. The very things our team had sought to address and combat head-on were now being revealed in my own heart. I had judged that woman, and in thinking less of her, I showed partiality toward others who appeared more self-aware and further along in their faith journey.

“My brothers and sisters, do not show favoritism as you hold on to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ… haven’t you made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”
– James 2:1,4

This sin—my sin of judging some and favoring others—is cautioned against throughout Scripture. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus couldn’t be more clear when He says, “Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. For you will be judged by the same standard with which you judge others, and you will be measured by the same measure you use” (Matthew 7:1-2).

The Lord is the only one worthy of being the Judge. He’s the only one capable of judging fairly. “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). It’s not our job to do the work of the Holy Spirit in convicting others of their sin, but we are called to respond to the Spirit’s conviction in our own hearts.

When we try to take God’s place as judge and jury, perhaps it’s because we’ve lost sight of just how great a debt Jesus died to pay on our behalf. Now, God’s “mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13); His justice has been satisfied once and for all who love Jesus (Romans 3:25-26).

We’re all on a journey, learning to honor the Lord through loving one another well. Daily, as we walk in step with the Spirit, may we speak the gospel into our waking moments. As sin is exposed, let us draw near to our Savior. Mercy triumphed over judgment when Christ died for us, sinners, and rescued us from deserved condemnation. And mercy triumphs still, as a holy God looks at us and sees the spotless image of His Son.


Vivian Mabuni is a speaker and author, and a sushi, white Christmas lights, post-its, and coffee-with-friends lover. She has been on staff with Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) for 28 years and serves with Epic Movement, the Asian American ministry of Cru. Connect with Vivian on Twitter and Instagram at @vivmabuni.

Post Comments (107)

107 thoughts on "Mercy Triumphs Over Judgment"

  1. Maiya Howard says:

    We are NOT to be anyone’s judge nor jury. Sadly, I’ve recently seen that this continues to be an issue, even for those who have been strong in the faith for years

  2. Kasie Ellsworth says:

    I received conviction and awesome reflection from this study . Show mercy , don’t let evil thoughts take over .

  3. Tanyah Hope says:

    These are such life goals! I definitely have shown favoritism and judgement to others in my lifetime. It’s something I’ll be constantly praying to God about. I also want to proudly let my light shine and my love for God show around people who aren’t Christians. I think people look at a lot of Christians who haven’t looked in their hearts and God’s Word when it comes to judgement. I think it turns people away from even giving the word a chance. I want to be the positive example since we are all ambassadors of Christ.

  4. Shaina Lee says:

    This speaks a lot of truth in many ways. I sometimes find myself looking at others differently due to their physical appearance. It’s true that we shouldn’t look or treat other differently due to their physical appearances but it matters what on the inside. The Lord continuously works in us and always shows mercy.

  5. Natalie Roush says:

    My boyfriend and I broke up a month ago. We were together for almost ten months and it was a really difficult relationship. We were both going through extremely hard things individually. He eventually ended things and he said there were so many bad things about the way I was with him. I know I was. I was so quick to anger with him. I projected a lot of insecurities from the personal problems and hardships I was experiencing onto him. I am having such a hard time with this because I feel as though I have already ruined things with my sinful ways. There is no redemption for this relationship. He is done. I don’t want these sins, I don’t want to be angry and quick to judge. I don’t want self sufficiency. I want peace and joy and all the fruits of the spirit. I am sad that I ruined something that could have been good.

    1. She Reads Truth says:

      Thank you for sharing Natalie. We’re praying for encouragement and peace for you during this time. We’re so glad that you’re here! -Margot, The SRT Team

    2. Rachel Mullane says:

      My love… I’m sorry you had to go through a break up. They are so hard, and do a lot of damage to the soul!

      You are perfectly redeemed & flawless in the eyes of God, and He promises to heal and renew us! If you want to cast away doubt, insecurity, and a tongue that is quick to anger, let that be your prayer! Do not let your ex be the judge. The Lord is the judge. I love you. You are my continuous prayer today, sister!

  6. Gail Mcconnell says:

    This is the truth. God’s word does not lie. Mercy is now. Judgment is later. It is not possible to give mercy without humility. Pride will always attempt to rationalize judging others. Thank God for the Holy Spirit to help us.

  7. Rebekah Jarboe says:

    I tend to quickly judge those who smell bad. It is a really stupid and un Christ like thing to do, and the truth is that we all smell bad at times and I smell bad often because that is the way the human body works. God created them the way they are and me the way I am and though there seem to be differences between us we are all created the same in God’s image.

  8. Michelle says:

    It is oh too easy to not be judgmental about the “big/obvious” things… but yet be drowning in judgment on littler matters. I see this in myself, and am thankful for God’s mercies (not judgment), new every day. Bit by bit He is transforming me and helping me in this area. but oh the progress can be slow. Great to read these passages and the devotional thoughts.

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