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Why should we live with compassion?

June 3, 2020 | Joshua Wilson

There is a lot going on in our country right now, and it’s heartbreaking. 

Over 100,000 dead from COVID-19. The senseless murders of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, which have reminded us once more of the racial injustice and tension still prevalent in our country. The looting and rioting that has turned peaceful protests into deadly and destructive gatherings.

I know many are quick to come to conclusions on these and other matters, but I wonder: have we been willing to listen? And even more importantly, have we modeled the heart of Christ in our thinking, speaking, posting, and acting?

Jesus spent a great deal of His life and ministry, focusing on and caring for those who were oppressed, overlooked, and in need. When He saw someone hurting or in need, His gut-reaction, the natural pull of His sinless heart, the strongest urge arising within Him, was compassion. My dear friend, the world might notice many true things about us Christians, but do they say that we’re the most compassionate people they’ve met? The people of Ashland might have many good things to say about Grace, but do they fundamentally see us as compassionate people? 

Our Lord was compassionate, and we ought to imitate Him. But even beyond His example, we have ample reason to love all people. Firstly, we were made by God in His image (Genesis 1:26-27), a reality that has been marred by sin but certainly not erased (for it is repeated after the Fall). And while there is some mystery as to exactly what that means, the Bible isn’t unclear on what it means for us: it means that we stand against murder, against abortion, against re-defining gender, against racism - because all of these things and more are offenses to the image of God in human beings. And, as such, they are offenses against God Himself. All human beings have inherent dignity and value in the eyes of God. 

Secondly, Christ died to gather for Himself a people “from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9). Christ didn’t discriminate in His atoning work, nor does He discriminate in His Kingdom. Therefore our understanding of anthropology (doctrine of man), of soteriology (doctrine of salvation), and of eschatology (doctrine of end times) all leave zero room for any racial prejudices in our ecclesiology (doctrine of the church) and the Christian life. Zero.

And so, friend, think and listen before you speak and post. Is the natural pull of your heart that of compassion? If not, pray that your heart may become more like that of Christ, who had compassion on us when we were lost and loved us anyway.