Compassion and Consistency
Yesterday I was listening to a sermon by Andy Stanley that was one of the top five sermons I’ve ever listened to. No, the other four are not my own sermons that I’ve listened to!!! You can listen to it by going to the link below. You can also find it on iTunes. I listen to a lot of sermons and don’t frequently recommend things like this but this message is a “keeper”:
Another element that made Jesus’ life so heroic was His compassion. Jesus had incredible compassion and this compassion often got Him into “trouble” with the religious authorities. I can’t do the message that Andy preached justice in this blog; but I will quickly talk about it.
Jesus’ compassion for people went outside the bounds of what most people expected. Jesus touched lepers and allowed Himself to be touched by prostitutes. He cared first and foremost about the person; not the person’s behavior. The way that Andy Stanley phrased the issue was “Jesus’ conscience was formed by compassion not consistency”. This is a great statement. Religion is based on consistency; having rules and applying them the same way regardless of the circumstances. But life is not like that…people are not like that. People are “inconsistent”. People do not color inside the lines. So what do we do? Consistency has its place but its place needs to be below compassion. Can we be compassionate and still be truthful? Can we live in a way that our beliefs and convictions don’t get in the way of loving our neighbor? Can our conscience be informed by compassion rather than consistency?
It is far more difficult to live a life of compassion than a life of consistency. A life of compassion moves us to consider motive and circumstances of the past. A life of compassion requires us to be vulnerable and open to misunderstanding and scorn. Yet a life of compassion puts us right in line with the life of Jesus. If Jesus could let compassion reign in His life, so can His followers. Let’s do it. Let’s see how God uses it!