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Compassion and Righteousness

By Watchman | February 13, 2011

“But I say to you who hear:  Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.  To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also.  And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either.  Give to everyone who asks of you.  And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back.  And just as you want men to do to you, do to them likewise.”–Luke 6:27-31

“Whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart.  And whoever will not receive you when you go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet as a testimony against them.”–Luke 9:4-5

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.  And from such people turn away!”–2 Timothy 3:1-5

But let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.–Amos 5:24

     My heart has grown exceedingly heavy over the past few weeks as I have read the news and the accompanying opinion posts on the internet news sites.  So much violence, betrayal, murder, abuse and hatred has become such a sordid and integral part of our lives!    This was not unexpected; nothing is happening that was not predicted in Scripture for the latter days.  The biggest conundrum for those of us who love the Lord is how to react to what is going on around us.   Do we close our eyes to the pain and suffering and look up because our redemption draws nigh? (Luke 21:28)  Are we to shake the dust of the unbelieving world off our feet as a testimony against them, or are we to pray for them and those who spitefully use us?  Most of all, is Christ’s dictate to love our enemies and to show love and compassion to those who oppose us incompatible with His intolerance for sin?  Can we show both compassion and righteousness?

     Most of you who have read many of my posts will not be surprised if I confess to being a political conservative.    Most fundamentalists or quasi-fundamentalists tend toward political conservatism because we are more concerned with advancing the kingdom of God than the kingdoms of this world.  We tend to prefer smaller and less restrictive governments, and most of us freely admit to believing that God should be the ultimate and absolute authority in guiding our nation.  Conservatism does not equal born-again Christianity, but born-again Christians usually adopt a more conservative world view.   My distress today arises from the fear that in our righteousness we are losing our sense of compassion.  Although they sound like contradictory terms, God demands both from us.  Yet the more sinful our world  becomes, the more we seem to be living only in condemnation of the evil rather than in the advancement of the Gospel of Christ.

     “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.”  Remember being taught that in school?  While that may be  true in the physical realm, it should not be so in the spiritual realm.  Our reactions to those circumstances in which we find ourselves should be carefully thought out and studied in the light of what best constitutes the will of God.  Lately, in the zeal to combat a tendency toward creeping socialism many Christians seem to be losing the sense of compassion that Jesus exhibited for our understanding.  More and more I’ve heard rumblings that socialized medicine is bad; therefore, if the poor cannot get health care, that’s too bad for them.  If they can’t make enough money to pay for insurance, that’s their problem.  If they can’t afford food for their families, then they shouldn’t have had children; therefore why should we be supporting them?   We often take the mistaken position that because taking from those who have worked hard for their living in order to give it to those who have not worked hard is wrong (which it is)  and decidedly not the lawful business of the government (which it is not), then the answer is to ignore the plight of the destitute, the homeless and the helpless.  This is one of the few times in which I would agree that we should not be mixing our politics and our faith.  I agree our government should not be requiring the “haves” to finance the “have-nots”.  I agree the government should not force upon anyone the care and feeding of others.  I agree that our government should not encourage or support those who choose to live an immoral or irresponsible lifestyle at the expense of those who do not.  God has never required that we be forced into financial slavery for the benefit of  those who do not choose to support themselves or who deliberately engage in behaviors that are in direct contradiction to His will and commandments.  He does, however, require that we as Christians take personal responsibility for the truly needy who surround us.   We must learn not to confuse or equate need with sin.

     Another disturbing trend within the confines of our supposedly advanced society has been the growing violence and godlessness exhibited by young people.  I’ve quit keeping track of the babies and young children who have been recently abused and/or murdered by their parents.  At least a half dozen  cases have surfaced in the past year of children killing their parents over what seems to be trivial matters.  School shootings, beginning with the Columbine killings, while not frequent, have taken place at least enough times to make the issue a worry for parents.  Again, each time one of these tragedies take place, conservative Christians take to the internet to call for the immediate and harshest punishments while rarely addressing the root cause of the rise of the problem.  Don’t misunderstand me here:  criminals, regardless of age, must bear the consequences of their actions.  Only sheer foolishness would turn a violent fourteen-year-old back out into an innocent and unsuspecting public due to his or her age.  However, I believe that it is our job as Christians to try to offer solutions to the underlying causes rather than to just virtuously congratulate ourselves on not having ourselves raised monsters.  As a society, we have now raised at least one–and possibly two–generations to believe that their economic well-being and their lust for fame, possessions and freedom are legitimate ultimate goals for their lives.  We have taught them that all their desires, even those that are selfish and evil, are perfectly valid; but we have not balanced this with teaching them the values God has imposed on His people.  Naturally, the majority of young people will survive this without committing horrendous crimes, but I’m not sure we have the right to be so shocked and astonished when the inevitable happens and some tragedy ensues.  Pray for these generations, brothers and sisters.  Most of the tragedies I’ve written about would never have occurred had the young people been brought up in the love and admonition of the almighty Father and His Son.  A compassionate people would teach their offspring to show kindness to others who are less fortunate, to exhibit friendship towards those who are less socially adept or acceptable, and to take some responsibility for the needs and feelings of those around them.  In this compassion is righteousness.  If we continue to allow our young people to believe that their emotional and animal needs are to be met at any cost, we will continue to suffer the consequences.  Pray for the secular world, that the God of love and righteousness will be made manifest in their hearts.  Pray that the crooked paths will be made straight and that the way of salvation will be opened to those who have not been  raised to see it.  It is time to pray, “Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth.”   It is time to hurt for those who do not understand the true meaning of love.

     The government has mistakenly been trying to exhibit compassion by encouraging the tolerance of evil.  Paradoxically, it has been exhibiting what is considered to be righteousness in the condemnation of Biblical Christianity.  The endeavor to enforce tolerance has supported the rise of the prevalence of radical Islam in countries here in the west and has endangered both our moral character and our freedoms.  The truth is that Christianity and radical Islam cannot coexist in harmony.  The belief that “all roads lead to God” is fallacious:  Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no man comes to the Father except through Him. (John 14:6)  Radical Muslims believe that infidels (all of us who are not Muslims) must be destroyed, and that all nations must eventually be ruled by sharia law.  Their hatred of our Jewish brothers and sisters is well known throughout the world.   What should our reaction be to them?  Here again, Christians are losing sight of what constitutes the will of God.  Righteousness demands that we put a stop to terrorism and stop the spread of this false religion.  Compassion demands that we pray for the Muslim’s hearts to be washed clean in the Blood of the Christ.  Although difficult to accomplish, both can be addressed at the same time.  Our reactions to the world around us must always be in line with the word of God.  God has no tolerance for sin, yet He calls upon us to convert, to whatever extent we can, the sinner.  It is not a sin to pray for the vanquishing of this enemy, but it is a sin to hold hatred in our hearts for those who oppose us.  Fighting the evil is necessary, but the soul of the sinner should also be of concern to each of us. 

     In discussing the issues of compassion versus righteousness, my friend Alan wrote to me rightly that “righteousness and compassion can only be brought together through the work of the Holy Spirit in an individual’s life, and then only by each individual completely submitting his or her will to our Lord on a day-to-day, moment-by-moment basis.”    My dear friends, can we do this?  Can we remember that God hates not one person He has created, and submit ourselves to His will to show compassion and uphold righteousness?  God is not willing that any person should be condemned to hell, and continues to knock on the door of the hearts of all men until they have drawn their last breaths.  Let us not prove ourselves unfaithful in submitting our will to God’s until His will becomes ours. 

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  He that believes on Him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  And this is the condemnation; that light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness better than light, because their deeds were evil.”  (John 3:16-19)


Topics: A Special Word for Today | 1 Comment »

One Response to “Compassion and Righteousness”

  1. Shirley Says:
    February 20th, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    I really enjoyed reading your insightful and inspired comments on what we face today, in making righteous decisions in a dark and confused world. Thank you!