Jas 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first truly pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.
Recently I was considering how the wisdom that is from above is full of mercy. What brought this about was meeting a young man who is hoping to study in our next Bible School term. The problem is that he has had to major instances of instability and backsliding in the past three years. He is however back in a good church now, and will be talking to my father about what he will need to do to be accepted back.
He may have to meet some stringent requirements for admission because of the past, but there are things that give me hope for him. 1. He was noticeably ashamed to talk to me. Many times people are caught red-handed and yet will still deny and be totally unashamed of what they have done. However it is those whose heads are hung in shame for what they have done that can know God as the lifter of their head (Psa. 3:3). 2. He seems to still have a heart for the Lord in spite of everything. 3. His life has potential, if only he will meet with God and obtain the ability to walk straight from Him.
Mercy makes sense. It is an attribute of wisdom. When someone fails perhaps our first attitude is to replace them, but a replacement would require all the effort and training that was placed into the first individual to be placed into the replacement to prepare them for the same work. Having done that then that person would also be tested and could very possibly fail in the same way as the previous person starting a new cycle. If the one who has failed can be restored – really restored – then the effort, time and training spent on that person are not wasted. This makes sense even for us, but imagine how much God has spent on this person. First consider whatever ministry he has received through the local church and how all of that was really God's investment in him. Then going further back think of all the times the person has responded to the drawing of God's Spirit directly, and all the grace received up to this point to get where they were. If the person is lost all that becomes wasted, if there is some sort of restoration then God will receive something for all that He has poured in.
Restoration is thus very desirable, but it requires a wisdom of its own to accomplish properly. Joseph showed remarkable wisdom in how he dealt with his brothers to see – both for his own and their sakes – if they still were jealous of a favored brother as they had been of him. They showed a marked change, especially Judah who was willing to lay down his own freedom for his brother Benjamin. This is the key of real restoration, not only ascertaining that the person has truly repented and changed but showing them so that they can realize that they are not the same person either. Jesus required a three-fold confession publicly of Peter to atone for his three-fold denial, but also included a three-fold commission to show His acceptance of Peter (John 21:15-17). It also appears to me that one reason for the inclusion of 1 Kings 1:1-4 in Scripture is to show to David and to others that David had changed as a result of his fall and restoration.
Truly the Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost and to change wasted, purposeless lives into joyful, productive ones that are filled with Him and His love. To Him be glory forever!