On the trip I took to Israel, we visited a place in Jerusalem called the Antonia Fortress. It was built by Herod the Great and named for his patron, Mark Antony. Despite being mostly destroyed when Jerusalem fell to Rome in 70 A.D. and later rebuilt, the original floor remains. This is the floor where Jesus stood trial before Pilate.
The same place where men hurled insults and accusations at Him.
The same place where men spat on Him and mocked Him.
The same place where He bore the cross to Calvary.
And yet, the most innocent person to have ever lived didn’t try to defend Himself. Justice didn’t matter to Him. Compassion did. Dying for others did. Showing ultimate kindness did. As I sat and pondered these things, I questioned whether my life reflected Christ’s compassion.
I wasn’t quite happy with my answer.
“The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.” Psalm 145:8
Sure, I try to be polite and kind. I’m compassionate when my niece falls and bonks her head. I’m compassionate when a friend tells me her woes over a cup of tea. I’m compassionate when my husband needs a safe place to vent. But those are easy times to show compassion. When I get cut off on the freeway? When people are thoughtless and self-centered? When their integrity is lacking? That’s when I turn into Lady Justice and try to steer those people in the “right” direction.
Except…what is the right direction? As Christians, the Bible should serve as our lens for understanding the world and motivate our actions for even the little things in life. But we’re all at different stages of our journeys and bring our own understanding and experiences to the table. Regardless of age, some are more mature in their faith, and others are brand-new babies – and that’s a beautiful thing!
“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” Matthew 7:12
Growing sometimes involves taking two steps forward and one step back. Even the most mature stumble and fall. But we can learn together in the body of Christ, helping each other transition from milk to meat with a heart of compassion instead of justice. We can rejoice in each other’s growth, knowing that the Holy Spirit is at work in our hearts and minds.
Instead of riding high on a horse like Lady Justice, let’s act like Christ and be “moved with compassion” when we see people in need of a shepherd (Mark 6:34). How can we live that life of compassion this week?
Family Radio Staff