More Mercy, Less Judgment

So there’s a soldier named Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl who was held captive by the Taliban in Afghanistan from June of 2009 until recently, when America exchanged five Taliban prisoner in exchange for his release. Now there’s a question about whether Sgt Bergahl deserted his fellow soldiers, putting other lives at risk, etc… Unless you’ve been hiding out in a cave for the last few days, you know the story.

I don’t know all the details and I’m quite sure that very few do. I do know that if Sgt. Bergahl did in fact desert his fellow soldiers then he’ll whatever consequences the American Military demands of him.

But… and this is a big BUT! I’ve watch my Facebook feed filled with so many people ready to cast their stones upon this soldier. No official investigation, no court and no fair trial. According to my Facebook feed this man is a traitor and deserves no mercy. Sadly, many of the people so quick to judge also profess to be Christians. I even saw one Christian justifying such swift judgment by suggesting that he made his bed, so let him lay in it.

Really? I’m so glad that we don’t serve a Heavenly Father who looks upon us and says, “You made your bed, now lay in it.” Far from it, we serve a Heavenly Father who showers us with his grace… with mercy… with the blood of Jesus rather than demanding our own blood.

This post really isn’t about Sgt. Bergdahl. His story, the developing details, and the populous response just provide a good occasion to point out a deeper problem: all our talk about grace and mercy turns often turns out to be nothing more than talk. And talk is cheap!

Maybe we all would do well to bury our heads in our Bibles and read once again about this God who reveals himself in Jesus Christ. We’ve somehow forgotten that we’ve received grace upon grace, mercy upon mercy. We need to fix our eyes upon Jesus again because then we begin to realize that we have too many of our own sins to begin casting stones at someone else. When we fix our eyes upon Jesus, the crucified Christ, we learn to be more merciful because we realize that we too have received mercy.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” – Jesus, The Gospel of Matthew 5:7

5 responses to “More Mercy, Less Judgment

  1. If we’ve read it once, we’ve read it a hundred times. So, perhaps, your advice to “bury our heads in our Bibles and read once again…”is not what Christians should be doing at this point. Perhaps it’s time to get out of our churches, get out of our holy huddles, get away from the safety of believers’ friendships and get out into the real world. It is so very tempting and easy to cast stones when we don’t know anyone on whom stones should be cast. (That’s not true, of course–each one of us deserves death by stoning or worse; we just don’t see it.) Too few Christians know a single per person who struggles with mental or emotional issues. Too few Christians regularly interact with another person whose like is greatly different from their own. Most of us don’t know anyone whose life is such a mess that only a miracle from God can help. Most of us have never reached a point of absolute hopelessness, or engaged a person who is at that point. The most conservative among us seem to be the least compassionate. Perhaps we should stop practicing our faith and begin living it. Or just shut up.

  2. Amen! It is a matter of our abiding in Him. If we are walking in and near Him, then we KNOW that we are in continual need of mercy, and it tends to disarm our penchant for the judging of others. On the other hand, if we are living by law with God, or attempting to do so, then we will be very much enabled to cast stones, for by the law comes the knowledge of sin, but not of mercy. Grace and Truth come by Jesus, our Lord. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us!

  3. For too long, God might have been merciful, yet the church wasn’t. Sadly, mercy was not forthcoming. In churches which sing or say the Kyrie, it is a plea. Was the soon-to-be martyr in Sudan mentioned last Sunday? Were the kidnapped girls in Nigeria mentioned as well? I know the martyrs of old, save Stephen, aren’t mentioned in the cofC but this woman’s picture is all over the internet and the newspaper.

  4. …give thanks to the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endures for ever.

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