Not long ago I was struggling with a challenging relationship. I had surmised a number of possible (though hypothetical) intentions to the person in this relationship which allowed little room for the fact that I could be wrong. While I was mulling my hypotheses I began to think that I was creating a story, a case if you will without the benefit of having enough information/ background. And I remembered something I had read in scripture: James 2:13. “Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

As a clinical therapist I appreciate the importance of the stories my clients (indeed I myself) carry around. These stories are theirs (or mine) to have lived out, to know in our deepest selves and to tell if we choose. There are many parts to these stories, many variables, many players. There are generational and genetic and environmental aspects to these stories as well. Some parts of these stories are cruel and traumatic and filled with loss. Other parts may contain times of joy, peaceful times, smooth waters, seasons of grace. We may not really understand all the parts of our stories ourselves! Or what is making us tick in the present, so to speak.

On the surface the outward ramifications of these stories may appear obvious to others and consequently we may be judged unfairly.  As I mulled my attitude regarding this relationship I was convicted of how much I needed to be merciful. I was convicted by the simple truth that I do not know the whole story. And even as I began to alter my attitude, letting go of my preconceived, assigned preconceptions, a feeling that I can only describe as grace swept away the judgment leaving me with a sense of peace. Mercy triumphing over judgment.

April Carlson, MSW, LCSW, LLC