Compassion without compromise

Friday, November 10, 2017

The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all his works.” - Psalm 145:8-9

Christians are not differentiated from other people by language, by culture, or by background. You see, they do not live in their own isolated cities or villages. Christians live among all kinds of people all over the world and they follow the same customs in clothing, food, music, and other aspects of life, but at the same time the world notices a difference in how they live. For example, Christians marry and have children just like everyone else, but they do not kill the unwanted babies. They offer a shared table of food, but not a shared bed of intimacy. They go to work like everyone else, but at times they go the extra mile. They follow the appointed laws of the land, but are guilty of living at a higher standard. They are mocked for doing so, but they bless in return. They are treated disgracefully, but respectfully show grace.

There is an unexplained attraction to Christianity that all people will acknowledge, but it is easier for the world to attack them than to humble themselves and follow Christ. The world cannot give any reason for their hostility toward Christ and His followers, and when Christians show compassion without compromise by loving their enemies, it has a two fold effect. It will either draw unbelievers into that same grace, compassion, and mercy from the LORD, or it will infuriate them to hate that much more. Sadly, what gets the attention is the hatred.

There are a lot of senseless sufferings in the world because of the sin of hate. We see pictures on television and on social media of the aftermath of various shootings, riots, along with destructive demonstrations by paid protesters. That is why compassion without compromise is so very important for the Church. Even though our hearts grieve for the victims and those involved, we are never to give in to what the Bible calls right and wrong - regardless of the politically correct pressure.

In our opening scriptures we see the LORD described as “gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.” The word compassion comes from the Latin, which means “to suffer with.” The LORD has compassion, which means that He suffers with us. He knows what we are going through, and He cares. He sees the loneliness, fear, rejection, disability, grief, poverty, discrimination, addiction, and a host of many other problems, but He is full of compassion.

As believers, God calls us to be wise as serpents, harmless as doves, (Matthew 10:16), and to be bold as a lion (Proverbs 28:1). Regardless of gender, racial, or social differences, when we suffer with those in need Christian compassion never fails to make a difference.

David C. Hale, pastor