For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.(James 2:13 ESV)
God has gifted me as an evangelist. There is no greater joy I have in life than telling someone of my great Redeemer Jesus Christ and seeing them come to trust in him. About-Face Missions ministry is the Holy Spirit's result of my and Jim Balls passion to see the world come to Christ and fulfill our purposes in this life. While our primary goal is, and always will be, to get the good news of Jesus told to as many as possible before we die, as ones who have received so much mercy and grace from God in our lives, we are driven by Christ's love to help also in physical ways where we are able. In our travels around the world, we have encountered some of the poorest of the poor, and the mercy of God in us compels us to show them mercy likewise. This two pronged approach of preaching the Gospel and helping the needy, especially those of the house of God, will always be a balance we will struggle with. We need to spend time and money to get out the message of the Gospel, but we also need to spend time and money to help the poor and demonstrate the love and mercy of God in us and for them. This passage reminds me to not give up, turn back, or slow down. God's rewards are much more than what the wealth of this life can ever give. It reminds me also that we cannot preach the Gospel without meeting needs when we have the means. How hypocritical that would be!
The context of this Scripture from God in James above is in showing honor and loving kindness and help to the poor among us and not showing favoritism to the wealthy, the better off, those who may be more pleasing to us for some fleshly reason. We read these scriptures and think at times how evil of a person to give higher honor to the rich man who comes into our presence and likewise looking down our noses and treating the lowly, less attractive, and poor ones as somewhat less... but this carnal nature is alive and well in most everyone of us today. And as a follower of Christ, this fleshly desire must be put to death daily! We all have been guilty of this to some degree and it must stop. God's word is telling us to be merciful to the poor among us, for the Kingdom of Heaven, the Bride of Christ is primarily composed of these poor people in this life. Do you think God will be merciful to you it you treat his own Children with contempt? Think about how you live your life. Do you primarily show honor, mercy and kindness and to those who can "benefit" you in some way? Don't be so quick to say no. Most 'Christians' live like this unaware, even when they say they don't, and only give their crumbs to the poor. If God exposed your monthly budget and spending, would we all see a life of self sacrifice of giving to those who cannot give to you any return in some way? Even the American churches fall under the indictment of God's judgment in many ways like this. So much spent on self 'needs' and so little on the poor kingdom workers around the world. God sees it all my friends. Don't be deceived.
We must examine our lives, wake up to our selfishness, repent and start changing the way we live. Don't let your culture be your god. That is idolatry. You follow Jesus, even if few around you do. Love the 'naturally' unlovable, and those you don't even 'know'. Reach out of your comfort zones and find them. Don't you see how unlovable you were before God rescued you? He reached out and found you. Love is intentional, never lazy and complacent.
God demonstrated his love for us in this: while we were yet sinners... unclean, ugly, dirty, defiled, rebels fighting against God... Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8)
Now, if the Spirit of Christ lives in you, let's get more radical in how we live for Jesus. "Fear not", God says, "For I am with you"! (Isa 41:10)