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“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)
The disciple of Jesus should endeavor to be merciful in all of his or her judgments because the measure by which we judge others shall be used to judge us; and the mercy we extend to others shall be returned to us.
This does not mean that we should ever excuse evil, or turn a blind eye to wrong-doers.  Yet, even the harshest judgments — rightfully made — can be tempered with mercy if sympathy is shown, and if the doorway to reconciliation is left open.
The disciple of Jesus speaks and acts as one whose words and deeds shall be called to account in both this world, and in the world to come.  – Luther

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“Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.”  (James 1:26, NIV)

For today and Monday, two thoughts about religion’s value.

The first thought is from verse 26 of James’ letter: A religion that is incapable of affecting something as common as our verbal interactions is worthless.

This is not to say that the religion, per se, is worthless.  It says that to us, the religion we are professing is worthless, because it has failed to affect our behavior in the most simple and ordinary way.

As disciples of Jesus, if we take seriously our profession of faith, then that faith must affect our lives in not only extraordinary ways, but in ordinary ways as well; not just on the mountaintop or in the valley (for these are temporary extremes in human experience), but on the boring, level plain, too.  – Luther

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