– Henry Ward Beecher
Compassion is superior to condemnation, and here are three noteworthy ways that it is.
God’s Compassion for Us
Think about the condemnation we were under before God showed compassion on us, as James wrote, “Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful” (James 5:11). God moved from condemnation, which we had earned as the wages of our sins (Rom. 6:23), to us being able to say, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).
Our Compassion for Others
The author of Hebrews wrote, “For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one” (Heb. 10:34). We should have “compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” toward others (Col. 3:12), including the lost because they are now doing the same things that we were doing, as Paul writes, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11).
God Chooses Who Receives Compassion
We don’t know who God is going to save. Therefore, we tell all who don’t yet know Christ that they need repentance and belief in Christ because that’s what Jesus taught (Mark 1:15). Ultimately, God declares, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion” (Rom. 9:15). You might see it this way: When the prodigal’s “father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20), it was the father that ran after the one who was lost but now was found (Luke 15:24). So instead of being amazed at how few are saved, be amazed that any of us are.
God was moved with compassion enough to place the wrath of God on His sinless Son so that we might be reconciled back to God and have a relationship with Him. He showed us compassion when we only deserved condemnation, which again proves God’s infinite love for us.