Thursday, June 03 2021
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.” Remember this rhyme from your childhood days? Or how about, “I’m rubber and you’re glue so the names you say bounce off me and stick to you?” It was a clever diversion to cushion the bullying and lack of compassion in our world. We would like to think that we have moved past this concept of bullying and lacking compassion as we grew into adults, but have we?
Compassion is defined as a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. With that definition of compassion, do we still think our world is compassionate? Are our churches compassionate? Jesus was our example of compassion. How do we measure up?
In the 8th chapter of John, we are given an example of Jesus’ great compassion. A woman caught in adultery is brought to the temple where Jesus is teaching. The religious leaders interrupt the holy worship and teaching to throw this woman at Jesus’ feet for punishment.
There was no doubt about her guilt, it says she was caught in the act. Yes, God hates sin, but He loves the sinner. Jesus died for the sinners. Here she is before a crowd with her sin on display for all to see and yet Jesus, the only one without sin that could have thrown the stone, has compassion on her.
He knows that she doesn’t need another critic, she needed someone to care.
What if some of our sins were on display for everyone to see? I imagine we would all be a little uncomfortable. For this reason, we tend to relate more to the adulterous woman in this story. But in reality, we are more often behaving like the Pharisees in the crowd, who were focused on their own agenda and looking out for their own interests.
The Pharisees had an agenda. They were so focused on their own interests, their own self-righteousness, that they completely missed the opportunity to love as God loves. They were so focused on the LAW that they forgot about the LOVE.
We have our own agenda, too.
We look at people- we size them up, we pass judgment, we pick up our stones and begin throwing them- wearing a mask, not wearing a mask; vaccinated or unvaccinated; Democrat or Republican; white or black; gay or straight; The judgments are as abundant as our differences!
We can throw stones without saying a word. Throwing stones doesn’t even really require a negative action of any kind for a follower of Jesus.
The formation of the judgmental thought in your head reflects what’s in your heart.
The Pharisees came to the temple that day, with malice and judgment in their hearts, and stones in their hands.
But Jesus knew this, and He turned the table on them. He bent down to write in the sand, we don’t know what He wrote but it was compelling enough, and convicting enough that the crowd all walked away, leaving Him alone with the woman.
And He addresses her with such compassion. He doesn’t bring up her sin again, nor does He condone it. He sees that she is already broken, humiliated, and humbled. After all, she calls Him, Lord.
Jesus knew that this woman didn’t need death, she needed deliverance.
She didn’t need to be put on trial, she needed to be transformed.
She didn’t need humiliation, she needed help.
She didn’t need stoning, she needed saving.
The Pharisees were so focused on themselves and the stones in their hands, they couldn’t see her with love and compassion.
How often do someone else’s sins get laid out on display before us? How do we respond? Because avoiding and ignoring are still responses. They keep our hand tightly wrapped around the stone in our hand.
Sometimes we need Jesus to write in the sand and remind us of our own faults, our own weaknesses, and failures before we encountered Him.
Compassion isn’t compassion unless it’s acted upon. How willing are we to demonstrate compassion for others? Are we willing to risk getting a little dirty and messy ourselves in order to show compassion? Are we willing to sacrifice our comfort and our wants for the needs of another?
How often do we pick up stones, making judgments, and lacking compassion?
Jesus is always trying to get our attention, and sometimes even write some things in the sand..
-to remind us of who we were before we met Him
-to remind us that it’s His name written on our heart and it’s His name that we’re called to glorify and point back to as we walk through this world.
What situation are you in today, that requires your compassion?
Are you so intent on being right, are you so intent on seeking restitution and revenge for your own hurt that you have lost sight of compassion?
Are you dealing with people, reaching out to people in a way that glorifies Christ? Or are you holding tight to the stone, just waiting to throw it?
We need to drop the stones and stop picking them up again. We need to look on others with compassion and act on it. Compassion means we drop the stone of judgment and we reach out in love.
It is the capacity to feel what it is like to live in someone else’s skin. It’s the idea that there can never really be peace and joy in my life until there’s peace and joy in yours. Are we living like that?
We need to live lives worthy of the sacrifice that our Savior made. We need to live lives that are different, set apart, and transformed because the very one who saved us is living in us.
We need to get past this idea that our life is about us and about our purpose. Our life is about Him and His purpose is our purpose!
Does your life look different? Are you seeing people with compassion the same way that Jesus did?
1 Peter 3:8-12(MSG)
Suffering for Doing Good
8-12 Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.
Church, if we love one another as God loves us. If we show love and compassion to others the way Jesus did, the world that is starving for love will be drawn like a magnet into His presence and the restoration that He offers.
 Matthew 12:33-35