Compassion…the Best Christian Apologetic

Christians need to learn a serious lesson, one that is both biblical and historical, and that is: arguing, judging and promoting the rudeness of rightness are the worst ways to show that Jesus is Lord and Messiah!

Truly, I am disillusioned by the ‘rudeness of rightness’ so espoused by many Christians these days: Christians hating Muslims; The erroneous bias of the Religious Right and the Religious Left; the error of the ‘prosperity gospel’ that tells me if I am not healed it is my fault; Christians living comfortable lives as the frozen chosen hiding out in a holy huddle waiting for the end times.  Plain and simple, I am tired of Christians who feel that rudeness, arrogance and the smugness of certainty are the surest ways to reveal the love of Jesus.  I know this, for all of these ‘dwell’ in me.  I am that which I hate, if I am painfully honest.

When 1.4 Billion people live on less than $1.25 per day, and considered destitute, I am wearied by Christians in the West (and particularly America) who are worried about “Christian dieting and dating,” “Living your best life,” raging against the bogeyman of the so-called socialist agenda, hating on gays and believing there is a gay “agenda.  I am sickened that we followers of Jesus are more concerned about ‘rightness’ than about loving our enemies, serving the poor, and even growing in love with God (All things that Jesus spoke of and exemplified).

Where is the compassion?  Are we Jesus followers so afraid of the broken and the wounded that we are becoming the modern-day Pharisees?  We have relegated compassion to the back of the bus.  If Jesus is the Truth, then why do so many Christians fear the seeking of it, rather falling back into the certainty of I am right and you are wrong as a protective blanket against engaging a hurting, broken world.

I am confounded by the fact that we Christians have not gotten it.  Jesus spoke more about the poor and caring for them than He did about hell (and He never once said one word about homosexuality) yet what I seem to hear coming from the mouths of Christians these days is we are “in a culture war for the very lives of our children.”  Over 400 scriptures speak to God’s care and concern for the poor and oppressed, and so few Christians are pining after the way of Jesus: whose first response to everyone in need (at least according to the scriptures) was compassion.  Only to the smug and self-righteous, did He challenge and speak blatant, hard truths.

But to the hurting, the lost, the lonely, the sick and the poor, the first response of Jesus was always compassion.  He touched them, He healed them, He spent time with them, He loved them…to the point of being crucified.

And so it should be with us.

If we say we love God but have not love for the hurting and the homeless, then according to Scripture, the love of God is not within us.  Hard truth, but truth nonetheless.  Even Jesus said “not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”  I tremble at that Truth.

And I am no blow hard liberal.  Actually, after almost 20 years of living in Washington, DC (the actual city, not the ‘Burbs’) has made me loathe all politics and the star-struck media wonder boys and girls who start fights just so they can make them headlines.

So this is not about some liberal or progressive agenda I have.  For in truth, I only have one agenda: to know Jesus as deeply as humanly possible and to reveal Him to a hurting, broken world in word and deed.  I hunger for my life to be “Good News to the poor.”  I desire for God to so take hold of me that my life truly becomes a “little” incarnation of the Messiah (for that is what the word ‘Christian’ means).  And as a follower of the Messiah, my mission – our mission – has already been laid out by our Master:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to bring [Good News] to the poor, He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-19, NAB)

And again the Messiah’s mission – our mission – should be to have the world see and hear the very words and life of Jesus flowing from our Churches:

“Go and tell John (the Baptist) what you have seen and heard: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, [and] the poor have the Good News proclaimed to them.  And blessed is the one who takes no offense at Me.” (Luke 7: 22-23, NAB)

Can we honestly say that these things are flowing from our Churches?  Or are we more concerned about our being ‘relevant’ to the world?  And make no mistake about it, in the time of Jesus, the lame, the blind, the deaf, the lepers, and the imprisoned were all outcast with no viable contact with society allowed and no social safety net to catch them if/when they fell.  The words of Jesus the Messiah are clear and there is no spiritualizing them

For more Scriptural evidence of the Mission of the Messiah we are following, and therefore supposed to be imitating in the power of the holy Spirit just read Isaiah 58, 61; Micah 6:8, Luke 6, Luke 12, Matthew 25, the Book of James, Galatians 2:7-10 (St. Paul speaking to the ‘commission’ given to him by Sts. Peter, James and John).

Charity, justice and compassion are the greatest apologetics for revealing the power of Jesus the Messiah to a broken, hurting world.  In a world where 25 percent of the world is poor (and that is a conservative estimate), Christians should spend less time trying to be right and building big buildings or preaching the ‘right’ sermons and spend more time being and doing compassion.  For compassion is the very heart of God.  Compassion was the life and lifestyle of Jesus.

What would happen if Christians trusted Jesus and His love and power so deeply, that our first response was always compassion?  What would happen if Christians spent less time judging the world and more time loving the world?  Some are so afraid that the world is going to rub off on us, that we forget we serve the Lord of the Heaven and Earth, and therefore maybe Christ living in and through us will actually “rub” off on the world.  Faith, when mixed with fear, becomes scary fundamentalism and heresy.

What would the world look like if we trusted and surrendered so deeply to Jesus that He began to mold us into ‘little Messiah’s’ living and serving the world instead of judging it?  What kind of world would that be?  Even Jesus that He did not come into the world to judge but to save it.

For the arrogance of the First World, believing itself to be the ‘best’ world is heinous in the eyes of God.  And for followers of Jesus even more so.  It is an affront to God and a shameful disgrace to the Cross.

We should remember that God so loved the world, the entire world and everyone in it, that He sent Jesus, the Wounded Healer and Suffering Servant, to die so that we all may live and come back Home to God and be restored and made whole/holy.

May we repent of our sins of omission and start praying that our hearts become filled with the heart of Jesus and that we start praying to fulfill the Messianic Mission that Our Lord decreed by His very life.

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