Release from Self-condemnation

Devotions for those who are weary of feeling not good enough, regardless of the source of those feelings.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Mercy Triumphs

Week 5  Trust and Know

Day 30

Mercy Triumphs

God deems it his glory and joy, to pardon and bless those who might justly be condemned…and his grace teaches those who partake of his mercy, to copy it in their conduct.
-- Matthew Henry[i]


ost of us who are overweight have experienced being judged by others for our excess pounds. This is painful at best, but when the judgment comes from someone who loves us, the wounds can be devastating. It doesn’t take a large dose of criticism—even of the sort that is labeled constructive—to damage self-esteem and establish an expectation that others will reject us based on how we look. Some of us become almost paranoid in our fear that others might chastise us for how or what we eat. 

God’s word offers comfort for those of us who fear being judged by other human beings: “Mercy triumphs over judgment”  (James 2:13). We can rest in the assurance that, even if anyone does pass judgment on us, mercy will eventually win out. God’s mercy will triumph. When we leave the safe shelter of our homes and venture out into the world, we can go forward protected from the devastating consequences of rejection. If we are judged, we no longer have to be injured by the mistaken or sinful attitudes of other human beings. We have been pronounced as acceptable by God’s love through Jesus, the highest authority of all. The Lord’s judgment overrules all others.

We can expect to be shown mercy by the Lord, and also by those who know Him. However, even Christians—especially those who love us—may attempt to protect us from the world’s judgments by correcting our failings themselves, and in so doing inadvertently cause us to receive more blows of rejection than the opinions of a stranger ever could have dealt. Those of us who have been bound by fear of rejection and judgment can be cleansed by the knowledge that if anyone does judge us, this judgment will not stand. 

When we sin, God does not condemn us. Rather than judgment, we receive only the gentle assurance that His presence with us has freed us from suffering over how we have acted; His love covers us. We can trust in His cleansing forgiveness and protective love. God’s mercy has triumphed through Christ, covering us with His seal of acceptance. 

In exchange for the unmerited favor we enjoy despite our obvious sins, the Lord expects us to extend the same kind of forgiveness and acceptance to others, and this includes those who judge us. We are to forgive them and pray for them. Their words and opinions have lost potency because a higher word has been spoken: God has loved us.  Jesus has died for us.  The Lord has set His Holy Spirit in our hearts as a seal, a sign of His love and acceptance. 

Pray:  Lord, thank You for covering me with the forgiveness purchased by the Blood of Christ. I rest in the assurance that You have accepted me, and so I can offer Your forgiveness and my own to misguided and sinful people who would label me as unacceptable. Your acceptance triumphs over their rejection. I am able to forgive because judgment finds no landing place where there is no guilt, and Your blood has washed away my guilt. So as You have forgiven me Lord, I forgive others.


There is no vision of wrongdoing by Jacob;
        God has seen no trouble for Israel.
    The Eternal One abides among them;
        and the shout of a king is among them.
Numbers 23:21 The Voice

…mercy always wins against judgment. Thank God!
James 2:13 The Voice

[i] Matthew Henry’s concise commentary on James 2, public domain.

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