Our verse for today comes from Acts 18:17, ” And they all seized Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the judgment seat. But Gallio paid no attention to any of this. “
Our home does not have a judgment seat. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone having something resembling what might be a judgment seat in their residence. I certainly don’t recall ever going into a home and seeing a platform in the room, elevated and designated as the location where all disputes are tried and settled. No, in my family, the judgment seat is far less stationary. In reality, it goes just about everywhere my wife or I go. If we’re in the kitchen, then the kids bring their disagreements there. If I hear escalated voices and sharp tones in the den, then the seat goes in there. We could almost rename the driver’s seat in the van as the judgment seat on wheels. There just seems to be something about sitting close together and riding down the road that leads to claims of territorial rights and declarations of ownership to items that have no significance whatsoever outside of the length of the trip being taken. Clearly, there are judgments and rulings and decisions being made all day long in the normal occurrence of everyday life. Fortunately for our family, there is no one like Sosthenes being beaten by an angry mob when he loses his case. The parties involved usually receive the outcome with understanding and acceptance. For I have found that the truest path to peace and reconciliation and away from the tendencies of frustration and despair is to introduce another seat. It is the mercy seat.
Whereas judgment must be made as to right and wrong, mercy speaks to the heart of the matter at hand. And more importantly, to the hearts of those who are at hand before me. It’s mercy that convinces them that I love them more than I rule them. It’s mercy that says they were wrong, but they’re still alright with me. It’s mercy that I receive for every thought and act that I commit that sent Jesus to the cross. And it’s His mercy that I want to show them, to change them. Not my judgment seat. We’re quick to judge. Let’s be quicker to be merciful.
As we seek Him today, let the mercy you have encountered be the mercy that you share.