July 10 – United: Country – James 2

Read James 2:1-13

When I was in first grade, my mother, siblings and I moved to a new town. Every morning on the way to school, we passed by this one bench on the main street. At that time, the main street was pretty run down and a homeless man was always there. Day in and day out, wearing the same clothing and always carrying the same back pack. I remember asking my mother why he was always there and she began to teach me about those less fortunate.

Now, growing up with a single mother, we didn’t have a lot. We were below middle class, but my mother always spoke about how blessed we were. To this day, I remember the lessons of gratitude and blessings that she showed through her actions, her character and words.

Here we were, seeing this man residing on this bench and my mother took the opportunity to teach me another lesson. A lesson about how God loves every person –  those that have more than us, those that have less. She taught me that it didn’t matter what we processed or wore, what we had or what we drove; she taught me that in God’s eyes we were all worthy of His love and we were richer in other forms than in the ways in which we may present ourselves or the ways the world sees.

Now, of course, to the seven-year-old me, I didn’t understand everything until much later in life but I remember that man. I remember this yearning to do something for him and asking my mom if we could. She took me to the store and together picked out food for him. I remember being scared to walk up to this man but followed my mom’s lead. Her posture never changed. She never shied away from what we were doing. She spoke with confidence and love and I got to see first-hand, Jesus through my mother.

“Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

James’ lesson is one that we, in our world, often forget. We see people and judge them by their appearance or circumstance instead of taking the time or making the effort to get to know them. We see people through our worldly vision instead of the perspective that Christ sees them. We show no mercy to those who need it the most and favor those who give us more. I once had a mentor point out how our generations are self-centered. How we begin every day or every thought about how we can be elevated. We’ve stopped putting others first; we’ve stopped truly caring.

Here is James, reminding us that no matter our position in society, mercy triumphs over judgement.

Just think, when you stop judging and begin to show mercy and love to those you may not understand…how much richer in spirit will you be because you will then be like Jesus.

Kelly Lawson

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