Compassion…

Where does compassion start? Where does it end? Too many want to be given compassion, but don’t want to give it. When we mess up, make a mistake, sin, we hope for compassion and forgiveness. Some feel a sense of entitlement so much so, they feel entitled to receive compassion and forgiveness.

However, both are gifts. Neither are anything we are entitled to. We can just freely sin and expect compassion and forgiveness to cover us. We can’t justify sin and expect to be forgiven. Sin will always be sin. It can’t be justified. That’s the reason God sent Jesus in the first place.

If sin could just be justified and we would be exonerated with compassion and forgiveness, then God never would have needed to send Jesus to die on the cross and be resurrected in the first place.

Jesus said let he who is without sin caste the first stone. Of course He said that. He also said, we must remove the log from our own eye before we can see clearly to remove the speck from our brother’s eye.

However, He never said there wouldn’t be consequences for sin.

When we accept Jesus as Lord and acknowledge we are sinners, but his death paid the debt, we can’t just stop there. We have to also acknowledge His resurrection. The debt was too great for us to be able to repay God. We have a debt to God that has to be repaid and the only what to do that is through the death of the only sinless man to ever walk the earth, Jesus Christ.

When we accept that Jesus paid the debt, we can’t stop there or we too are dead. We have to also acknowledge that we must be reborn. Just as Jesus was resurrected, we too must be resurrected in Him.

Paul wrote in Galatians Chapter 2 “ I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing. “

Here Paul is saying when we accept Jesus, we are crucified with Him and no longer live, but Christ lives in us. Why does he say we have been crucified and no longer live?

He says this because we are to die to the world, we are to be reborn as a new creation. This is exhibited by the desire to strive for the example set by Jesus. We should desire to move away from sin. Because Jesus now lives within us, we are to be as He is.

This is what it means to be a follower of Christ. To do our best to continually hit the rest button when we sin and do our best to eliminate as much sin as we can. This is done by repentance. Repentance isn’t just the admission of sin, but to turn away from it. To change the way we think and act.

Then Paul goes on to say, we are to live by faith in Jesus. He says we don’t set aside grace, which is the unmerited favor of God, but that righteousness cannot be gained through the law. The law still exists, but we are unable to adhere to it. God knew that and that’s the reason Jesus came to pay our debt. We are never going to be sinless, we just simply aren’t capable of following the law. We need Jesus to be able to be reconciled to God.

The issue most people have is forgetting is that sin cannot be justified. We see so often that people will justify sin by pointing out the actions of others and saying we aren’t that bad. The lie here is that there is no justification for sin. The only absolute is that the wages of sin is death and the only way to life is Jesus.

Jesus said we are to love God first and to love each other as we love ourselves. This is where compassion comes in. Compassion is often misused. The dictionary defines compassion as sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. This is not absolving of sin nor does it mean to let something go. Jesus didn’t come to remove the law, but to complete it.

Compassion can and should be given. But that doesn’t justify or absolve sin, it merely looks beyond it to understand and give cause for empathy. Empathy is understanding the situation of others. Just because we have empathy and choose to be compassionate, doesn’t mean the sin goes away.

There isn’t anywhere in scripture that says the laws of the world gets removed at our own choosing. Sin isn’t without consequence. Jesus died for us and was resurrected to reconcile us to God. However, the authority given to us from God, has been used to create written laws. God says we are to honor that authority and those laws.

Never does God say that we are cleared of following the laws of the world, in fact He says the opposite. In Romans chapter 13 Paul writes “ Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgement. “

So often, we see people throw compassion at broke laws or the “ caste the first stone” verse out when someone points out something someone did. And then there is the remove of the log so we can see the speck.

If we only used compassion, caste the first stone and the log to the speck, then there would be total chaos and anarchy. I know this seems counterintuitive, but the issue is the world itself.

The world is fallen and unholy. Ever since the fall of Adam, who also tried to justify his sin by blaming Eve when God came, we have been dead. Only through Jesus can we be reborn. It is for this reason we need law and authority to guide and govern. God will always have the final say. There is no question of God being on the throne of mercy.

What we can’t do is justify sin by the use of compassion and “ don’t judge me.” God already gave the judgement. For us to acknowledge sin and know where to turn, we have to understand His law is still in effect. We are still subject to His law. We are also subject to the laws of the authorities put in place.

If I point out a law that is written and another is breaking it, I’m not passing judgement. The first step in forgiveness is the acknowledgment of sin. We have to acknowledge it and accept responsibility for it before we can ask for forgiveness. There can be no repentance without the acceptance of responsibility and acknowledgement of sin.

When someone breaks a law or sins, we can acknowledge it. That’s not judgement or expressing consequences, that’s merely calling a sin, sin.

Let’s look at fornication for example. Fornication is defined as any sex outside of marriage. If a man cheats on his wife and I call him a fornicator, I’m not judging the guy. I’m just stating he is a fornicator. He committed the sin of fornication, that’s fact. Then, I can have compassion if it’s warranted. However, we just read in Romans that there are consequences with the breaking of the law.

There is a provision for divorce, only for fornication. Why would that be there if we aren’t supposed to caste the first stone or call a sin as such? Because we know that sin brings consequences. I’m not going to divorce the fornicator, I’m not married to him. But his wife might. If she does, is she failing to have compassion? Is she casting the first stone?

There is a limit to compassion. There are consequences to sin. There are consequences to breaking the law. Man likes to justify sin, expect compassion and forgiveness and feels entitled to it when he has sin. But, most men refuse to give either to those who have wronged them.

God already knew our compassion would have limits. He also knows that we are unable to forgive in the way He can. He also knew before the creation of the world that the only answer to our being reconciled to him would be Jesus.

Sin is sin and will always be sin. Consequences may and usually do come with sin. But, the good news is we can be reconciled with God regardless and in spite of our sin. Through Jesus, we can be forgiven.

Never forget, salvation is a matter of the heart and spirit. God knows our hearts. That’s where we can’t judge, only He can. I can never know your heart anymore than you can know mine. But, God knows our hearts. If we continue to justify our sins and don’t acknowledge them or accept responsibility for our actions, can we expect God to see our hearts as cleared and washed clean of sin?

Of course not. If we are truly repentant and have received Jesus as Lord, then our hearts will desire to change. We will be continually growing closer to Him and working to eliminate sin from our lives. We will be convicted when we grieve Holy Spirit and we will desire that to be gone.

There are limits to compassion, but God’s love is endless. Sin has consequences, but Jesus made a way for us to have life in spite of our sins. While we may face consequences and even judgement on earth, God’s way is freedom from eternal consequence and the gift of salvation is eternal life.

By William Henry