Love, Mercy, Grace and Compassion

Recently, I read something on social media that stated that God loving people are ignorant and hateful. It’s not the first time I’ve read something along those lines, and it won’t be the last. I usually let it roll off of my shoulders, but admittedly, I let it get to me. The reason it bothered me, was because I took it personally, although it had been stated that it wasn’t about me, but about some other people. Often times though, when something like that is said, it is a blanket statement about those of faith in general. So, why would it not bother me? After all, I am a God loving person, and I don’t shy away from that. I’ve taken some time to think about it, and I am bothered, but not for the reasons that you might assume.

When at first I was bothered, it was because I try my very best to live a kind life. I have a relationship with The Lord that makes me want to give the same grace, mercy, compassion and love that He gives to me. In fact, I think about that very thing often. It all comes back to grace, love, mercy and compassion. So naturally, it bothers me when I feel others may assume I claim to be God loving, but don’t live by one of Christ’s greatest commands: to love others.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible, is in 2 Corinthians 3:3-6. The ESV Bible reads, “And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”
To put it simply, we are a letter from Christ; a letter to the tired and broken. A letter to the sinner. A letter to humanity; one that should give hope to others. A letter not written about ourselves and by ourselves, but a letter about the goodness of Jesus Christ. And that got me to thinking: God made us sufficient to be ministers of the new covenant, but does our heart give an accurate and fair representation of Jesus? And THAT is when my being bothered changed to a different kind of bothered.

We as Christ followers are just regular people. We have a wide range of feelings and emotions. We are not exempt from such things, thankfully. That’s the beauty of free will; you have a choice in how you react to things that challenge you, emotionally. God didn’t create robots. He doesn’t choose to control our thoughts and actions; he leaves it up to us, hoping that we will do the right thing because we recognize Him for who He is.

So why would anyone think we’re (collectively) ignorant and hateful? This may hurt a little, but my guess would be that it’s because we as individuals, sometimes ACT ignorant and hateful! Sometimes we as individuals, look down at others. Sometimes we as individuals take it upon ourselves to say things in a way that Jesus doesn’t approve of. Sometimes we don’t think about the way we are representing Jesus, and instead of being a letter written on tablets of the human heart, we act as a hammer, smashing our way through a sea of people who don’t know Christ, in the name of being right. And the result isn’t love, grace, mercy and compassion; it’s an individual being pushed even further away from God. I’ve been there, and I know how that feels.

In short, we have a responsibility to represent Jesus in a way that honors His teachings. Sometimes that can be difficult on a human level, if you let your feelings take over. There is no denying that. But that’s the beauty of making a choice to have a new life in Christ, and we will ultimately be held responsible for our actions and words. So when next you find yourself considering speaking or acting in a manner that is based off of your feelings, ask yourself two questions:

Does this honor Christ?

Does this show love, grace, mercy or compassion?

Let us, both individually and collectively as Christ followers, be bothered not by what people may think about us, but rather, bothered by what they’ll think about Jesus. After all, it’s not His actions and words that push people away; it’s ours.

All glory be to God,