We all know folks who’ve made a mess out of their life due to poor, foolish, and even sinful decisions.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed that my natural response to these kinds of self-inflicted wounds is seldom one of compassion. I don’t “feel their pain” as much as I wonder, “What-the-heck-were-they-thinking?”
I addressed this about a month ago when I put a brief note up on my Facebook page and Tweeted the following: My first response toward those who have made a mess out of their life says a lot about how Jesus-like I am. Is it compassion or judgment?
Since then, I’ve continued to mull on the importance of leading with compassion and mercy in the face of pain – even if the pain someone faces is self-inflicted or the direct consequence of their sin.
It all starts with a look in the mirror. You see, I’ve made my own share of foolish and even blatantly sinful decisions. Bet you have too. And sometimes the consequences have been brutal – and painful.
Yet, it’s in the midst of those brutal and painful consequences that God has shown himself to be most compassionate and merciful.
Long before I turned my life over to him, he had already died for me. Long before I came to my senses, admitted the errors of my way, and turned around; he was already pursuing and calling me to himself. While I was dead in my sin, he felt my pain. He had compassion. He offered mercy and a way out, not a “What-the-heck-were-you-thinking?” lecture.
So I wonder why can’t I (and why can’t we) do the same whenever we come across someone suffering the brutal consequences of an arrogant, stupid, or even sinful decision?
It’s not that we have to stop calling a foolish decision, foolish – or sin, sin. It’s simply that if we really want to be more like Jesus then we must learn to lead with Jesus-like compassion, mercy, and a helping hand. And we have to stop leading with Pharisee-like judgment, rolled-eyes, and cold-hearted post-mortems on someone else’s stupidity.
Easier said than done.
But I’m working on it.
How about you?