- Jonathan Runyan
Compassion is Hard to Have
Ever wondered why it's so hard to have compassion for others?
One word shows us why this is. In Luke chapter 15, a son insults his dad, takes all his stuff, and runs away from home. When his money runs out, and the parties die down, he starts to starve and gets desperate. Shortly after this, he decides to return home, apologizes, and says to his dad, "I'm no longer WORTHY to be called your son."
In Luke chapter 18, a guy is praying and thanking his God for his worthiness. Not God's worthiness. His worthiness. He says, "I thank you I'm NOT LIKE OTHER MEN." He then lists all the things he's done for God. Why he's WORTHY and they are not. Interesting.
Unfortunately both men have made the same, grave mistake. And to our surprise, it had nothing to do with what they did, but everything to do with what they believed.
Here on this earth, all of us tend to believe we're WORTHY based on what we do or don't do. Deny it if you will, but it's as normal as breathing. The runaway son believed he was UNWORTHY because of what he did, and the praying man thought he was WORTHY based on what he'd done so far.
The truth is this: If your WORTH goes up (good obedience) and down (bad behavior) based on your actions, then you're not trusting in the love of God.
Because your worth has nothing to do with your actions, whether they're good (worthy) or bad (unworthy). Your worth is found in someone else other than yourself.
Have you ever felt like the runaway son? "I am no longer worthy." You've run away from God and turned to friends, drugs, media, good deeds, bad deeds, anywhere and everywhere but to God Himself. But sadly, you're no longer worthy because of what you do.
Have you ever felt like the praying man? All your practices line up. Money to charities, time with the right people, regular prayer. You feel worthy because of your obedience, but something is off. The worthiness has to constantly be tended to through your actions.
What does this mean? It means God knows something about you that you can rarely, if ever, put your finger on. He knows that no matter what you do, good or bad, your worth is outside of your control. He knows you cannot make yourself worthy. He knows your brokenness and that you can't make it whole.
And with every right to condemn you, He instead runs to you. With every right to lock the doors, He opens them up. He even knocks on your own door. He makes Himself unworthy. He becomes broken with us and becomes broken for us. He takes the judgment rightly aimed at us and turns it on Himself. When Jesus Christ came, He came to take the judgment of our unworthiness, brokenness, and sin. It was yours to deserve, but He took it from you. That is compassion.
"For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." -2 Corinthians 5:21
Your WORTH then is not even closely related to what you do, but what has already been done by Jesus Christ.
Remember what we started with? Why is it so hard to have compassion? Usually because we think our worthiness depends on what we do. And if we're worthy because we're doing well, what does that make those who aren't? That's right; unworthy.
We're all like the praying man or the runaway son more than we realize. But if our worth is something that is given, if our worth is something that has nothing to do with us, and if our worth was a gift, then we know compassion. COMPASSION and WORTHINESS go hand in hand.
"Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus." Phillipians 2:4-5
**This was a recent Community Night topic at Rock Creek Bible Church. Community Nights are open the last Sunday of every month to the surrounding community.**