Sometimes it does not matter how right we are. We can have 100% clarity on the objective truth, be skilled at asserting that truth, have a thousand voices saying amen to that truth and, yet, still be completely wrong. While seeking to welcome the unenlightened masses to the Light of the Gospel we could potentially cause the reverse effect of repulsing them and motivating them to flee what they hear concerning Jesus Christ. How could this be? Another man explained it very simply:
“Biblical orthodoxy without compassion is surely the ugliest thing in the world.” – Francis Schaeffer
Compassion must always be the counterbalance to truth; without it, truth can feel like a brick in the forehead or an anvil upon the toe. Most of us tend to lean one way more than another toward one of the many components of the Gospel. Some will focus more on the truth that all humans are sinners while another may highlight consistently the forgiving grace and constant love of God. One Christian woman could have her heart strongly attentive to the agonies of the cross while her girlfriend easily focuses on the glories of the empty tomb. A missionary in Africa might spend decades ministering to children afflicted with HIV while another missionary in his same sending agency goes to the Philippines to build schools of theology. We all have our own bend when it comes to the comprehensive message of Christ and there is nothing wrong with that. However, let none of us lean away from compassion.
Your coworker not only needs the message of truth, she needs a messenger of mercy and concern. The fellow in the pew next to you certainly needs to come to repentance and make a break from his selfish ways but he also needs to believe that a compassionate follower of Christ will hold his trembling hand when that moment of repentance comes. The homosexual not only needs to understand that God abhors his lifestyle, he also must be convinced that God will graciously pardon his sexual sins along with all the others that accompany it. People can never get to Heaven without the Truth. People may never be open to the truth apart from compassion in those who have been entrusted with it.
So we might want to think on this simple question today: When others see my Christianity is it in the form of a smile or a frown? The answer may make a bigger difference than you think.
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