On Using People: James 2

On Using People: James 2


Mercy is at the center of this chapter.  It’s mercy that stimulates compassion for the poor and leads us into more than a theoretical relationship to God (like the demons have).  Having received mercy, we want to offer it and we can no longer treat God like an idea.  Ideas don’t offer mercy, only people do. Mercy can triumph over law and merit and performance.  This text calls us to love mercy.

It is what will guard against simply evaluating every person on the basis of whether they help or hinder our cause.  We naturally cater to those we deem will help us, and minimize those we deem will hurt us.  This is not gospel.  Jesus said even the pagans love those who will love back.  The test of mercy is when a person cannot help your cause.  Will we still act in this person’s best interests?  Without any payback?  Only to the extent we have received mercy ourselves!