MERCY AND JUDGMENT
We know that our God is a righteous God. In the future, at the judgment seat, He will judge us according to righteousness. However, though there is righteousness at the judgment seat, there is mercy also. If you show mercy to others, the Lord will be merciful to you. If you are unforgiving toward others, and if you are so righteous and unyielding toward others’ failures and weaknesses, the Lord will deal with you in righteousness in that day. If you are merciful to others, the Lord will show mercy to you. Luke 6:37 says that if you do not pass sentence on others, sentence will not be passed on you; if you will not judge others, you will not be judged, and if you forgive others, you will be forgiven. Some Christians are too mean today. When they criticize others they scrutinize every mistake others make. When they do their best to criticize and judge others, they have to be careful. In the future God will deal with them in the same way they deal with others. With what measure you measure to others, it will be measured to you. If you give to others good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, the Lord will give to you in the same way. He who forgives will be forgiven, and to him who shows mercy, mercy will be shown.
Hence, the Bible says that mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:13). There is one thing which even judgment cannot triumph over—a person showing mercy to others throughout his entire life. We cannot be without mistakes. But if we show mercy to others today, God will be unable to deal with us. Many Christians are not able to lose in their dealings with others. They argue all the time with others. They give little ground to others and grant themselves all the ground. But we should rather show mercy to others today. When the time of judgment comes, there will be some whom even the Lord of judgment will not be able to hold anything against. This does not mean that man can purposely change God’s commandment. It simply means that if you are merciful to others while you are living on earth, God will be merciful to you. Your mercy today will triumph over your judgment tomorrow. The way you judge others will be the way that you will be judged. This grace is righteous. The way you treat others will be the way that the Lord will treat you. The way you treat others will fashion for you a vessel, with which God will measure out judgment to you. James 2:13 says, "For the judgment is without mercy to him who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment." Those who show no mercy to others will be judged without mercy. But those who show mercy to others will triumph over judgment. Your mercy will surpass the judgment. This is an amazing fact.
Matthew 18 shows us clearly that God’s children can still fall into the hand of the torturers. If they do, they will have to remain there until they pay off all their debts. Of course, there is no way to pay off all the debts. But at least one day they will learn to be merciful and to forgive others in the same way that the Lord showed mercy to them and forgave them. By then they will still have to show mercy to others. Hence, in verse 35 the Lord says, "So also will My heavenly Father do to you if each of you does not forgive his brother from your hearts." This portion of the Word is not spoken to unbelievers, but to Christians. It shows the relationship between the heavenly Father and His children and the relationship between the brothers.
Prior to this portion of the Word, Peter asked the Lord, "How often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" (Matt. 18:21). The Lord told him that he should forgive up to seventy times seven. Then the Lord spoke the word about the two slaves. Peter will face chastisement if he does not forgive his brother. The word of the Lord shows Peter that there is the possibility that he could be thrown to the torturers. There is the possibility that he could be put into prison. If there is the possibility for Peter to be thrown to the torturers and cast into prison, there is the possibility for us to be treated the same way also. That is why the Lord used the plural "you" in verse 35. His word is not for Peter only; it is for everyone. If we do not forgive each one of our brothers from our heart, the heavenly Father will do the same to us. Please remember that our eternal salvation in the new heaven and new earth is unshakable. Thank the Lord that this is by grace. But if our problems today are not dealt with specifically, we will still suffer specific punishment in the future kingdom.
(Gospel of God, The (2 volume set), Chapter 23, by Watchman Nee)