James spoke against the sin of partiality and the need to have regard for the poor. He wanted us to remember that we are set free from the law of sin and death. With this freedom, we are encouraged to show mercy and do not be quick to pass judgement. Even God himself is merciful and gracious towards us. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23). Even when we were sinful and unworthy, God’s grace covered and protected us.
God does not want any of His children to perish, but His desire is that we repent and experience everlasting life. For this reason, God extends grace and mercy to us daily. He wants us to come into His presence and experience His love and faithfulness. When we are close to God, He can shield and protect us from the attacks of the enemy. It is when we drift away from God, when the devil is able to cause harm to us. Since God is a faithful and loving God, we also need to extend love and kindness to others.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matthew 5:7). Forgiveness is one form of mercy, as we extend grace to others. It is hard when people mess up many times and cause us hurt over and over again. Sometimes it is good to step back and pray for that person. God knows the relationships that are worthwhile maintaining and He is able to help us. There are times when we have the power to choose, between showing mercy or judgement. Judgement can be in the form of writing off a person and deciding to have nothing more to do with them.
Some people are sincere about being sorry for mistakes made and show that they are willing to make amends. If there is evidence of this, then it is worthwhile giving people second chances. It is true that we cannot see what is in the heart of another person. This is where the Holy Spirit can help us to discern intent and motives. We can trust God even when we don’t trust others and once people show a willingness to change, this can gradually restore trust. “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matthew 6:14).