By Pastor Jason Swedeen
There are a lot of things that we do today that is different from the past. There are also many things that are still the same, or at least history repeating itself. There is a lot of wrong doing and down-wrong wickedness happening today all over our world, just like in the past. Why, in the past, nations or cities were completely destroyed because of wickedness—remember Sodom and Gomorrah. There are people today that think that God isn’t being just if He doesn’t judge America for its evil. There are still others who think that Sodom and Gomorrah must have been really, really bad, and we just haven’t gotten to that place yet.
But, let’s look from a different angle. So often, we get focused on one aspect and then we get stuck there. In this issue of wickedness, we tend to focus on judgment rather than mercy. For me, when I’ve done something wrong, I would desire mercy over judgment. James 2:13 says, ‘there is no mercy in judgment to the one who shows no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.’ God didn’t create us to be a mob of hyenas demanding judgment. He created us to be a people who will carry His nature and heart to the world. His heart is mercy!! Remember, ‘mercy triumphs over justice’. My question and challenge is, “where are the righteous”? History has repeated itself over and over where those that are righteous have kept quiet or even slipped backwards in their faith because of pressure. But God has always advanced His kingdom by a remnant who were willing to ‘walk the talk’ and stand up. It has required people to contend and fight for mercy, not judgment. I don’t know what you believe, but I don’t believe that Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed just because they were wicked. I believe the two biggest reasons are: 1)that there either wasn’t any righteous in the city, or none of them stood up and 2)there was no one who continued or contended for mercy. Yes, Abraham contended for a little while, and touched God’s heart, but he stopped too early. I believe God wanted to show mercy to them, but there was no one who carried the heart of God, mercy, to the very end. I am not bashing Abraham. He is the father of faith. It is through the promise of God to him that we are blessed and have a covenant, but he was still human and made mistakes. Hopefully like Abraham, we will learn from our mistakes and those of others.
My challenge is, “will the righteous please stand up”. We don’t need the righteous to be focused on judgment, but rather on mercy. Mercy would have saved Sodom and Gomorrah. Mercy will save, still today. Are we going to release mercy from the hand of God into the atmosphere and situations around us or are we going to place judgment on and run from Ninevah, as Jonah did. We all know how well that went for Jonah. He ended up going to Ninevah after all, but still didn’t want to. God did a mighty work there, but Jonah’s heart still wasn’t transformed.
We need to be transformed by the mercy of God and then let the passion for mercy rise up so that we see through the eyes of mercy and not judgment. This is God’s challenge: ‘WILL THE RIGHTEOUS PLEASE STAND UP!!’