Jesus showed mercy everywhere He went. In fact, right before He was going to be arrested and taken to the cross, He had a conversation with one of His disciples. He said, "Peter, you are going to deny me three times tonight before it's all said and done." Peter refused to believe it, "No way! I would never deny You. I'll stand by You 'til the end!" But just as Jesus said, the Bible shows us three accounts where Peter denied any association with Jesus. He was afraid and feared for his very life! You might think Jesus would be upset with him, but do you know how Jesus responded? After He died and rose again, He appeared to Mary at His tomb and said to her, "I want you to go and tell everyone that I've risen." Then He said, "And go find Peter." He singled him out. Why? Jesus wanted Peter to know that he was still loved, valued and forgiven even though he betrayed Him. Jesus didn't hold a grudge. Instead, He extended mercy and restored Peter. And, He extends that same mercy to us every single day!
Maybe you've been denied by someone. Maybe you've been hurt. Maybe you are working through some pain right now. Remember, Jesus gave us an example of mercy. He shows us mercy so that we can show mercy to others. It's easy to take offense. It's easy to hold on to the hurt and pain of the past. But the best way to move forward is to give all that pain to God and show mercy and forgiveness. Start today by praying for those who have hurt you. If possible, do something nice for them in return. Ask God to help you learn to forgive and extend mercy to others. It's not always easy, but it starts with a choice. You make the choice, and God makes the change in your heart.
This holiday season as you are around family and loved ones, remember, mercy always triumphs over judgment. Choose mercy instead of judging and condemning others, and choose the winning side!
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)