Yesterday we pondered acting as people who are going to be “judged by the law that gives freedom” in James 2:12 and then James continues to explain that judgment without mercy is weak because “mercy triumphs over judgment.” Again I am thrown into thinking about Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables and the battle between Jean Valjean and policeman Javert. It is a story about the law, represented by the policeman, trying to catch a reformed prison convict who has reformed his life. It ends with Javert throwing himself into the Thames, to satisfy the law. It is not unsimilar to Christ dying on the cross for us people who cannot seem to live by the law. We say, we are saved by grace and not by works.
Favoritism shows no mercy or grace but judges by outward appearances. Many line up at churches to get free help because Christians are suppose to help. I’m not sure who is more blind, the person who only see faith as a meal ticket or the person who sees beggars as nuisances. Both are guilty of favoritism or prejudice.
During times of trials the temptation is to fall back on stereotypes of our situation or others. We perceive we are being judged for wrongs we committed or we perceive the other likewise. Mercy frees us from the penalties of not satisfying the law. It frees us to go forward without a secret past, without a burden of bitterness, with a more open heart but it also opens our horizons for experiencing the other.
Mercy provides a window of hope for the future. I do not know what burdens of law are plaguing you even as Javert always appeared to steal Jean Valjean’s joy but we can rejoice that Christ offers us freedom to embrace the future and hope. Blessings as you face your challenges today.