“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).

During December’s holiday season, my thoughts focused on ‘light,’ ‘grace,’ ‘mercy’ and ‘reconciliation.’

They are all useful ‘words to live by’ for the New Year, but I find myself thinking about ‘mercy’ the most in the current climate of acrimony, revenge and retribution.

Mercy is: “Compassion offered to the powerless by those who have power. Mercy suggests compassion, forgiveness, benevolence and kindness.”

And I am not just thinking about politics but each one of us as individuals, and the sad fact that the fabric of so much of American community is being torn, thread by thread, by our inability to listen to and respect one another.

Also, the current international world situation.

The message Jesus came to teach, the message he went on to illustrate throughout his ministry, stands as a clear indictment of our 21st-century default position. Jesus teaches that vulnerability, humility, self-giving love, service to others and reconciliation are the path to peace and to justice.

• Peace and justice in Gaza? “Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

• Peace and justice in politics? “Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

• Peace and justice in the community? “Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

• Peace and justice in our homes? “Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

• Peace in heart and soul? Listen to the words from the New Testament: “Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

A handful of readers complain when I ‘dare’ to bring the witness of Christ to bear on current events, and the sad state of affairs that is American politics. Well, you know what I say to that? “Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

If you don’t like it, have a chat with the New Testament writers, and Jesus: “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

Peace in the new year — DEREK

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Derek Maul
Derek Maul has written for many news outlets, including the Tampa Tribune, The United Methodist News Service, All Pro Dad, FOCUS Magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Presbyterians Today, Guideposts, Chicken Soup for the Soul and many other publications. Read Derek Maul’s daily blog posts at www.derekmaul.wordpress.com.