James reminds us in chapter 2, verses 11 and 12: So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.
James reminds us we will be judged by the full measure of the law that set us free, not pieces of the law that suit us best or puts us in the most favorable light. Sin is sin no matter the type, size or gravity. All sin is an offense to God.
One thing is clear in the reading of these two verses. We cannot pick and choose what we decide to believe or what applies to our life. We cannot select what criteria should be used to judge us in the world and when we stand before the Lord one day. We cannot assume we will be judged by only certain parts of the Scripture and not others Believers whose words and actions demonstrate that they are under the influence of the world, rather than Christ, delude themselves into a false sense of security.
We all stand before God in need of mercy. We can’t earn forgiveness by forgiving others. But when we withhold forgiveness of others after receiving it ourselves, we show that we did not understand or appreciate God’s mercy toward us. The law that set us free is not like standing in a cafeteria line: I’ll take a dollop of that, a slice of this, but forget the broccoli.
Societal pressure is building around us to adjust Scriptural criteria for judging any situation. We need to stand firm and do our best to live out the full measure of the law, no matter the pressure to do otherwise.