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If God is Compassionate Why are We not?


god_is_compassionate

It is not hard to answer the question if God is compassionate then why are we so unmerciful?

I. Reasons Why God’s Compassion is Needed

II. God’s Compassion is Undeserved

III. Honoring God Means Showing Mercy to Others

IV. Showing Mercy Means Praying for Your Enemies

V. Show Compassion Until the Bitter End

VI. Don’t Unnecessarily Share Information About Others

VII. Conclusion

Reasons Why God’s Compassion is Needed

Compassion should be viewed as an existence imperative. Without compassion, it is doubtful humanity exists at all. The well-known story of Adam, Eve, and their transgression, is recorded in the book of Genesis.


Our need for compassion began like this. (Genesis 3:1-4):

sin_requires_compassion

What many may not know, is by God’s standard, our disobedience should have ended humanity’s existence. We understand this because later in the Bible, God wiped out almost all of humanity, save Noah and his family, because of wickedness.


Of course, we could split hairs about wickedness in the time of Noah versus the garden of Eden transgression and why Adam and Eve weren’t destroyed but let’s keep moving. In the eyes of a righteous God, sin is sin.


For example, according to our laws, someone who steals a pair of shoes is less guilty than someone who steals a car.


The former is called a ‘misdemeanor’ while the latter a ‘felony’ based on value of the item stolen. God does not split hairs in this way. A thief is a thief, and a murderer, a murderer.


His standard is so high that we needed His compassion to continue existing beyond the life of the first humans. In this most beautiful of always, God showed Himself compassionate and merciful.


He allowed those who deserve death to continue living.


Leaning into that a bit further, He didn’t only allow those who chose to follow Him to continue living, but those who rejected Him as well.


If I could visualize this level of compassion on a much smaller scale, think about it like this. There comes a time when our children get to a point where they will not follow the rules of our house.


Typically, this happens when they become eighteen (18) or over. This does not say pre-adults are not disobedient! However, when they become adults, we have the option of: “escorting them from the premises.”


This does not mean we do not love them, pray for them, and will welcome the back. It only means, at that time, they have rejected us and must leave.


The Bible tells us (John 1:1-3):

merciful_god

According to this, all things belong to God. He created them and therefore is the absolute sovereign. This would mean that the Earth belongs to Him as well. The Bible indicates that those who have believed in Him are His children obviously living here, on Earth, which He owns.


This points out that although we get to a point where we put our children out for disobedience, God continues to allow us to live here, within a structure He created and owns!


If that is not compassion, I don’t know what is.

God’s Compassion is Undeserved

We have all been to a place, spiritually, which questions if God truly understands our struggle(s).


This puts us in a place where things become about “our personal” struggles. More simply: sometimes things get to a place where we begin to question everything. The good news is that God still loves and forgives us.


Here is an example (Lamentations 3:22-23):

scripture

While we are yet breathing, God’s well of forgiveness will never run dry!


Imagine a five (5) gallon bucket of cool water which a family of four (4) drank from for multiple days. At the end of that time, the bucket would be empty leaving them without a water source.


However, such a bucket of 'spiritual water' NEVER runs dry, no matter how many drink and for how long! This is an example of God’s mercy, grace, and forgiveness. It is literally a bottomless bucket which is always full of water (forgiveness).


He is not like us in this way. We have our limits and once gone beyond, well: “it has been good knowing you but this relationship is over.”


Honoring God Means Showing Mercy to Others

It is interesting that God shows us mercy, yet we turn around and refuse the same to others. There is a biblical story Jesus told about this concept. Most know this as the ‘parable of the unjust servant.’


God has commanded you to love others, but that doesn’t mean you have to be nice to everyone all the time.


Sometimes you must be direct to get their attention! Regardless of what you have heard, Jesus was angry as well. “Nice guy Jesus” is a lie from the pit of hell!


My mother was a no-nonsense type of woman. Although I knew she was always serious when instructing me to do something, I assigned a weight to her seriousness. For instance, she would say: “here is some money go to the store now.”


I might walk into the front yard, play around a bit, and reminded to go on my way. This second warning sounded like: “don’t make me tell you to go to the store again.”


On multiple occasions, I did not heed the first warning however, I rarely, if ever, ignored the second. In my immature mind, if there was not some form of verbal threat tied to a command, it was just a suggestion.


However, mother’s tone of voice was the barometer to get my attention. God operates in much the same way.


Why I would never offer that He suggest anything to us, we obey depending on the severity of our situation. God’s commands typically began as a still, small voice, which we mistake as a “suggestion.”


After being ignored several times, the voice becomes as loud as a waterfall.

This is the entire issue with Christian psychology which has so twisted the identity and mannerisms of Jesus Christ.


As a Preacher, I have NEVER read, in the Holy scripture, where Jesus was “nice.” Yet He was always loving, even in His anger. Such an example was illustrated in His confrontation with the “money-changers” in the temple.


You do not have to be nice, but you must be loving. Here is an example of the difference. For many, the most “loving” person we have ever known was our mother.

However, few would claim mother was always “nice” in demonstrating her love.


Even when seeming rude, she wanted to keep us “safe” and away from harm. We understood, especially when we had children, the appearance of rudeness sometimes demonstrates love.


Here is one of the most profound questions in the biblical record (Genesis 4:8-9):

cain_was_unmerciful

The answer is YES, we are our sister and brother’s keeper. It begins, at birth, with someone “keeping” us and when a certain age, we “keep” others.


When you show mercy to others, it sends the message that God is merciful and forgiving. It also encourages people to turn to God and ask forgiveness because they realize it doesn’t always have to be about them.


Showing Mercy Means Praying for Your Enemies

When someone has wronged you, the worst thing to do is respond in kind. Instead of this, offer a sincere prayer for them.


Let me be clear, however. As with all things” “for everything there is a season” as King Solomon taught. A quick read of the Gospels will reveal Jesus Christ was the most confrontational person in the entire biblical narrative.


You do not need to “insult” as an act of the flesh. However, confronting them is biblical and loving.


Now that I consider this, I am at a loss to offer anything more loving than biblical confrontation!


Be specific in your prayers for those who are God’s enemies (and yours). You don’t have pray for hours on end, or pray for one specific thing either. Just ask God to bless them and lead them towards His revelation, and knowledge Jesus Christ.


I remember reading this (Matthew 5:44):

When you pray for people, you’re sending them, and God, a message that you care for them. You’re also letting them know that you have mercy on them.


Show Compassion Until the Bitter End

In this area, I challenge myself as well! There comes a time when it seems like we are “pouring from an empty cup.”


We all have heard that Scripture: “you God anoint my head with oil and my cup is so full it runs over.” Nevertheless, life has shown that our cups seem empty more often than full.


The reason for mine is twofold. First, I am someone who goes all out until I am worn out. Second, I do not stay in front of the Lord as much as I should. These two events run simultaneously and rarely have a good ending.


Along with God allowing humanity to repopulate the Earth after the flood of Noah, the greatest act of compassion for us is well known.


According to Scripture, God came in the flesh, and in the person of Jesus Christ, to reconcile us to Himself. Many struggle with believing that the universal sovereign actually put on flesh and dwelt among us (as the Gospel of John teaches).


However, there is an easy way to explain the necessity of God’s arrival.



If we understand how grievous unrighteousness is, we begin to grasp the radical nature of the required response to it.


I am amazed that people who openly hate Him, are the very ones He came and gave His earthly life for.

I say with surety that I’m hard-pressed to think of any person who hates me that I would give my life for. If you are honest, and although you would never speak, you think the same. You can fool everyone, but you cannot fool God.


Not only did God, in the flesh, get on the cross and die for us, He did something utterly amazing while doing so.


I am sure you know this text (Luke 23:34):

While the Savior of the world was dying, He was so compassionate that He pray for those who killed Him! I don’t know about you, but my petty grievances against others pale in comparison.


Don’t Unnecessarily Share Information About Others

God hates gossip. He doesn’t like it because when people gossip about others, it inevitably leads to tension. Gossiping about others is petty and has potential to cause unnecessary hurt.


This doesn’t mean, however, that you aren’t to speak truth about someone. We have many instances of Paul writing to a church and pointing out people who were evil! Was


Paul a gossip for writing: “Alexander the Coppersmith did me much evil. May God repay Him for what he has done”?


Here is how to tell the difference: in what spirit are you sharing the information?

Bad mouthing, unnecessarily, is a sign that people don’t know how to forgive. If you notice that you’re doing it often, look inside yourself.


Perhaps you have a dark place in your heart that you need to offer to the Lord to heal.

It is important, however, to bring balance to that equation.


I threw out something Paul said which I need to further explain. There is a difference between ‘necessary’ and ‘unnecessary’ injury.


When it comes to this difference, our laws outlining child abuse do a pretty good job. Let me be clear: in recent years, they have gone too far! Our children are out of control because not only can, for instance, schools no longer discipline, parents are severely restricted.


However, there are laws which allow certain forms of discipline, which hurt the child, yet forbid others which do the same.


In my considered biblical view, spanking a child’s bottom is appropriate and required to keep them safe. However, hitting them with weapons, of any kind, is simply inappropriate.


My siblings and I ended up in foster care because of such physical and unnecessary spiritual abuse. The same is true in the kingdom of God with respect to necessary hurt.


If we are honest, we came to Jesus because we were convicted of our evil and needed to remedy.


In spirit, you were hurt because of the evil you had done. Without this conviction, which is necessary spiritual hurt, there was no solution to the most serious issue any could face – an eternity apart from God.


After you were saved from this evil however, you have been unnecessarily hurt by the conduct of other Christians.


We must never get to a place where “appropriate corrective hurt” is frowned upon, however. Wait a minute, the church is already there! Will have that conversation another time.


Conclusion

God does have a plan for you and will always have a way to help you get through any struggles. If you feel like you’re walking down a dark path, it might be wise to ask God for guidance back into His marvelous presence!


However, and having done so for you, He expects us to be merciful to others. It is my prayer I have not presented mercy and compassion in a way which seems as if you should enable wicked conduct of others.


The Bible has much to say about how God feels about the wicked, and how we are to deal with them.


Nevertheless, the compassionate Christian realizes we have certain struggles which God is angry with as well. Although we should refrain from indicting people on things we struggle with, that does not mean we should keep silent on those we don’t.


I end with this - what is your motive for speaking truth and/or showing compassion?


Header Image Courtesy of Michaela Murphy @ Unsplash



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