Tag Archives: compassion

Those who despise grace…

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Friday is the day for our weekly spelling test in my 5th grade class.  When the test is over, the kids exchange papers and we grade them together as a class.  Those kids are so hard on each other.  Every week someone complains that their friend’s “O”s look like “C”s or their “A”s look like “U”s.  They demand that every “T” be crossed and every “I” be dotted.  I’m sure some of them have a future in some government office.

I am constantly trying to teach them about grace.  My 5th graders are hard on each other and don’t give each other much grace because they don’t recognize their own need for grace.  They have very short and selective memories.  They remind me a lot of some Christians.

When Christians are hard on each other, demanding perfection of each other, it is because they do not see their own need for grace.  Pride has blinded them to their own faults, and they undervalue God’s power to forgive.

Jesus talked about this.  He said, “He who has been forgiven of much, loves much.”  The woman weeping at his feet was a prostitute.  The host, who forgot to give him water to wash his dusty feet when he arrived at the house, was a Religious Leader.  Who loved Jesus more?  The one who had been forgiven of more sins.

Those who do not recognize their own need for grace will always be hard on the people around them, like my 5th graders who are tyrants with a correcting pen.  Once a person sees their own trashiness, smells their own filth, and understands all that God has had to put up with in cleaning them up, then that person is tender and sensitive to the cleaning up process in his neighbor.  He says, “There but by the Grace of God would I go.”  If it were not for God’s Grace towards me, you and I would be in identical straits.

Has Pride blinded you to your own need for grace?  Are you hard on people?  Ask God for the brokenness that comes with understanding your own pathetic state before a pure and holy God.  Tenderness comes through brokenness.  Compassion is born of humility.

What I am afraid God will say to me someday

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There is a very common complaint against God floating around now days.  There are several variations, but it goes something like this, “Why would a good God allow innocent children to starve to death?”  The idea is that if God were truly good, he would not allow children to suffer.  So because we see suffering children in the world, we take it as evidence that God must not be good.  We’re basically saying that Angelina Jolie is more compassionate than God Almighty.  We’re implying that either God is NOT a good God because he ALLOWED this to happen, or he is not a POWERFUL enough God to STOP this from happening.  Either argument accuses God of not being who or what he claims to be: All-good and all-powerful, all-knowing, just and righteous, merciful and kind.  Both arguments are the product of human logic.

In both arguments, we humans are better than God.  In one, we are more compassionate and good, in the other we are more righteous and just making us able to judge God by a human sense of right and wrong.  Both of these accusations are called “blasphemy” which is claiming for yourself the rights and qualities of God.  We puny humans shake our fists at God and point an accusing finger at him shouting that we are more just that he is, we are more compassionate than he is.

But what if, some day, when you pointed your finger at God and said, “How can a good God allow innocent children to starve to death?”  God actually answered you.  What if God responded with this, “I saw those children starving to death and it broke my heart.  So I gave YOU all the resources to save them.  I gave YOU more than enough money to feed your family and their family too.  I gave YOU a bigger house than you would need, hoping that you would share it with one of those children.  I gave YOU a powerful government to use to speak for those without a voice.  I gave YOU access to 90% of the world’s resources, hoping that you would spread them around.   I saw those children starving to death, and I wondered why YOU didn’t do anything to help them.”

When Jesus saw the multitude of people following him, he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd.  So he sat down and started teaching them.  As the day came to a close, the disciples noted the time and they encouraged Jesus to send the people home to eat dinner.  Jesus was concerned that some would have a long journey home and might faint along the way.  He told his disciples “YOU give them something to eat.”  Their initial shock was replaced by another kind of surprise when Jesus himself multiplied the loaves of bread and little fishes from a child’s sack lunch.  And everyone had enough to eat.

Jesus provided the miracle, but the disciples were given the command to pass it all out, “You give them something to eat.”  So before you point your finger in God’s face and accuse him of injustice and hard heartedness, take a long hard look at your own style of living and your own habits of consumption.  Are you really more righteous than God?  Because we didn’t save those children, God took them back to Heaven to take care of them himself.  How can a human ever love as much as God?

“If you give a cup of cold water to a child in my Name, it’s the same as if you gave it to me personally.” ~Jesus Christ.