“Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!” — James 2:12-13 (NIV)
A man arrived at church shabbily dressed and smelling as though he hadn’t bathed in weeks. He sat in the front pew and tried to speak to others around him. All of them did their best to avoid him. At the end of the service, as he shook the minister’s hand, the minister said, “You need to ask God how you are to dress to come into this house of worship. Wait for His answer before you return here.” The next Sunday, the man arrived, as unkempt as the last time. The minister said, “I thought I told you to ask God about how you should dress to come into this house of worship.” The man replied, “I did. He said He’s never been here so He doesn’t know.”
Prayer: Merciful God, we so often jump to conclusions about who is in Your kingdom and who is not. May we recognize and give thanks for the mercy you have shown us, who in our sinfulness are mere beggars. May we, covered in Your mercy, then be merciful to all we meet. Amen.
(The author credits Randy Smith from whom she first heard this parable.)
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