Posts Tagged ‘about compassion’

  I had the awesome opportunity to have guest writer Emily Satterfield share with VOD a very important and controversial subject. These words are written from the experience of a young woman that used to claim to be Christian but was also proud to be a part of the LGBT community. Please take the time to hear her story and how she found forgiveness in the loving truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Is Christianity an easy path to walk? Is following Christ a journey that’s supposed to make us popular with
the world or enemies of it? Did Jesus promise that we would be loved or hated for His name? Contrary to
what so many evangelicals believe, both pastors and laypeople, Christianity is by nature divisive and does
not mesh with the lost world.
Initially submitting our lives to the lordship of Christ is a necessary and difficult thing that all sincere
believers must and will do, but I don’t think it’s the hardest thing we have to do. A true believer is one
who doesn’t pick and choose which portions of the Bible to adhere to, and, while that seems
commonsense, that principle often doesn’t carry over into our relationships with the unbelieving world
around us. Yet somehow, either due to lack of discipleship or courage, frankly, we are much quicker to
cherry-pick which parts of the Bible we follow when it comes to the lives of those around us. It’s scary
when the truth forces us to go beyond ourselves, and as a result, many of us wrestle with obedience and
often fall painfully short. We cower back and reject the conviction He brings us, even when there are souls
at stake.
It is not an overstatement to say that most people are under the misconception that discussing the sins of
others is unloving. “Judge not” is a phrase I’ve heard used out of context more times than I could count,
and that’s just from within the church. Yet in John 7:24, Jesus tells us “Do not judge by appearances, but
judge with right judgment.” Perhaps we have to dig beyond the first verse in Matthew 7 to understand
what Jesus meant in regards to judging.

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be
judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the
speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or
how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the
log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will
see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” – Matthew 7:1-5

Upon further examination of the text, we can see plainly that Jesus is referring to judging hypocritically.
To go to a brother living in blatant sin while you yourself are living in blatant sin is hypocritical and isn’t
going to hold any weight with your brother and could cause him to doubt the authenticity of your walk. We
must first repent (remove the log out of our eye) then go to our brother that he may also repent (help
him remove the speck from his eye). Here we see not a warning to keep our mouths shut, but rather a
charge to repent and help your brother to do the same.
Obedience to God is the most loving thing we can do for both Jesus and those who must repent. We know
that those who walk in darkness do not know God (1 John 1:6). We know that Jesus’ call to all His
followers was to “repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). We also read in John 14:23 that those
who love Him will obey Him. So what is it that keeps believers from faithful obedience when it involves
others outside of themselves? That answer is found in Proverbs 29:25: “The fear of man lays a snare…”
It’s scary to tell lost people that they’re lost. It’s frightening, particularly with loved ones, to tell them that
their lifestyles are incompatible with the faith and that they must repent. It no longer looks pious and
prestigious when we go from living holy lives that look different but don’t directly affect others to
engaging with a culture that hates the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus promised us that believers would
suffer in this world. Paul told us that “all who desire to live godly lives in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”
(2 Timothy 3:12).
As believers, we have to be honest with this dying world, despite the costs we’ll surely face. We’ve been
granted salvation from hell and an abundant life in the present while the lost are condemned and headed
for hell apart from Him granting them repentance and faith. Jesus said, “Whoever believes in him is not
condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the
name of the only Son of God” (John 3:18). At this very moment, our neighbors and loved ones are at
enmity with God because they have not repented and believed.
Christians have been given a commission; a parting command from our Savior:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded
you.” – Matthew 28:19-20a

Believers have been given an obligation and a responsibility to proclaim the truth to this world even when
in an age of ‘tolerance’ that’s the most unpopular thing we can do. The modern understanding of
‘tolerance’ is directly contrary to what the Bible teaches, as it demands that we not only accept but
celebrate various forms of sin in the lives of those around us. Not only can we not condone the sins of this
world, but we must go to those who are practicing it and share both the gospel and what He’s commanded
them to do. As scary as that seems, I assure you that the original disciples faced far greater risks for their
obedience as we do today in America.
The task is made to appear harder when one considers how groups like the Westboro Baptist Church have
done more than put a bad taste in the mouths of many Americans, both the lost and the saved. They
picket funerals in protest of sins like homosexuality and they do so in the name of Christ but demonstrate
no discernible fruit by which one might reasonably consider them to be sincerely Christian. Not everyone
who says to Him “Lord, Lord” will actually inherit the Kingdom of God (Matthew 7:21-23). In light of this
baggage, how should the believer go about speaking the truth to the lost about their sin? Paul gives us
the answer in Ephesians 4:15 with the phrase “speaking the truth in love”. In that verse we see that
there’s a message (the truth) and a manner that conveys that message (love). Though many will still
lump true Christians who display this character with those of Westboro Baptist Church, the difference is
known at least to God and those sheep who will hear His voice and repent by His grace.
Figuring out how to communicate the content of the message of truth is perhaps the most difficult part.
The believer first has to give that person a context for what sin is and what its effects are. This is where
the gospel comes in. We have to tell the lost, whether they are deceived ‘cultural christians’ or adamantly
atheistic, about their sin nature and enmity with God, their need for reconciliation with Him, and the
atonement He made at the cross for those who will repent and believe. In Romans 7, Paul tells us “if it
had not been for the law, I would not have known sin.” The law shows us that we’ve fallen short. The law
brings us, by the Holy Spirit, conviction for our sin. The remedy for that sin is the gospel, the power of
God for salvation for all who believe (Romans 1:16). This means that people have to understand that they
are sinners and are guilty before a holy God. We have to be faithful to speak the truth to them, in love,
that they may repent. If we’re affirming sinners in their sin, we’re aiding them into condemnation. That is
not love but hate.
I became a believer in April of 2014 at 22 years old. Up until that point, since age 15, I was dating girls in
serial monogamous relationships. I esteemed myself to be a ‘good person’ and had many ‘believers’ in my
life affirming me in my sin. I was kind to my family, was a loyal friend, and was bold for the LGBT cause. I
enjoyed my sins of course (drunkenness, drugs, sexual immorality, etc.) but called myself a Christian and
boldly proclaimed “Love is love, and God is love.” I had formed a god in my head to suit my sin and my
desires that resembled nothing of the God of the Bible. I had a few people reach out to me to show me my
error and my need for a Savior but I had “already done that” (prayed a sinner’s prayer and been baptized)
and was content. I was condemned where I stood and was storing up wrath by the minute. Fortunately
the Lord showed me mercy and opened my eyes, through His law, to see my sin and my depravity and He
granted me forgiveness and a new life no longer enslaved to sin.
I did not enjoy the few times that believers came to me and pleaded with me to repent. I so much more
liked those who shrugged and either said “God will save her when she’s ready” or worse, “She’s a good
person. Surely God wouldn’t send her to hell for acting on those feelings.” Who loved me rightly? Who was
obeying our Lord and caring for my soul? It’s easy to overlook those who are in sin either because it’s
scary to talk to them about it or because we can’t fathom that they’re condemned already apart from Him.
If we believe the Bible is the word of God, and all sincere believers do, we have no choice but to go to
those who are in sin and plead with them that they repent and believe. If we believe that hell is what’s
awaiting them, how can we not do all in our power to stop them? How selfish could we be to withhold the
keys to eternal life from others just as guilty as ourselves for fear of rolled eyes or at worst, an argument?
Do we value our egos so much that we can’t be obedient to Jesus and give them the truth they must hear
to be saved (Romans 10:17)?
It was Spurgeon who said “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our dead bodies. And
if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell
must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.”
Because we love Jesus and because we love our neighbors, we have to be radically obedient. We have to
endure what comes anytime truth is proclaimed in a sin filled world and trust the results to God. It’s easy
to let culture and fear trap us and keep us quiet and ineffective. We must repent of our apathy for the
lost, and we must obey. He can save and He will save; we need only be submissive to Him and rejoice
that He allows us to take part in the unfolding of His plan. If we believe the Bible, we cannot and we will
not be silent. “For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon
me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” – 1 Corinthians 9

  Right now as I sit here and remember all the faces of the people that passed me by on the street today, I am overwhelmed at how lost and hopeless these people really are. There is no hope for a hurting soul desperately searching for meaning and purpose in the pleasures the world has to offer. I see the scowling face of the elderly lady wrinkled in disdain. A confused man blankly stares and ponders. A patronizing smile plays disapprovingly across the face of a portly woman. The mischievous, care-free spark of expression in the green gray eyes of a young man my age. I hear the faint echo of laughter. Laughter born of ignorance and callous. A profane scream clashes ironically with the pent up tears locked behind a lifeless stare.

  Everyone is a unique human being with a soul hand-crafted and fashioned by the hands of a loving Creator. Every person bears a life designed with a purpose known only by God. They are all called by God. He desires the heart of every one of them. I may only see the ugliness of their sin and rejection of truth but God sees His creation. He has compassion.

  Today we stood on the corner of Cedar and Main in Sandpoint, Idaho and reproved the evil works of darkness. And darkness was there. If ever you thought man was naturally good, your mind would be changed the instant you saw the disturbing callous of two girls laughing about death, murder and abortion as they wait for their light to turn green. If that doesn’t do it try having a hateful woman flip you off and scream out the window, “I wish your mom would’ve had an abortion!” Suddenly the quaint, tourist town becomes a war zone. The enemy is intent on killing. We are his target.

  Who is our enemy? Sometimes I think we forget who we are fighting. Our warfare is spiritual. We don’t fight against flesh and blood. We are standing against the gates of Hell. Satan is our adversary not the people we pass by everyday. Satan loves to use the weak and hurting but they are not who we are fighting against. They must be rescued. They are lost in darkness and sin. Man is evil but he is not our foe. We must bring them to the light of salvation to be rescued from the clutches of the devil.

  Today as I held signs I saw raw humanity displayed for what it really is. They have been bitten by the teeth of bitterness. They have been manipulated and abused by others around them. They have become jaded to the powerful message of Christ’s redemption because the church has failed to be Christian. I’m not making an excuse for their sin but explaining why they are lost in it. Some people act like monsters when confronted with the seriousness of their sin but there is a hurting and hardening heart behind the layers of bitterness.

  We mustn’t forget that we are told to love them. Were not we once one of them? Did not Jesus die for the monsters we used to be? Is their sin of hate any different than the apathetic concern we display to this dying world? Could the story of the Good Samaritan be a parable of our lives? I hope so. After we have accepted the free gift of salvation, that the Lord has so lovingly given to all who will receive, how can we refuse to offer that love to others? That is selfishness at its worst. For those of us that actively participate in abortion abolition we have become in danger of great hypocrisy. We decry the selfish motives of abortion such as woman that say that if they don’t abort their babies it would ruin their life or that it’s their body and no one has a right to tell them what to do with it. These women are selfishly keeping others from living so they can live the life they want. How similar that is to us when we refuse to have compassion on those that are headed for an eternal death after we have been granted life. The cross wasn’t for Christ but for us. The crosses we bare as Christian aren’t for us but for others around us. We want the world to see the importance of the baby’s life while failing to see the importance of the lives all around us.

  We must be bold and uncompromising with our message but we cant forget to lovingly show them their sin and guilt. It is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance and as ambassadors for Him we must show that goodness to others. A sincere smile goes a long way. It strikes right at the heart. I’ve seen those that hate me respond in wonder when I treated them with kindness in return for malice. Lets not forget to share with the world the compassion of Christ. Every word must be spoken in love. If we have not charity all we will be is a thorn in the sinner’s side. We must show them, with compassion, their disease of sin and then the bloody cross of redemption. While Jesus hung dying on the cross He cried, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Let that be our prayer when we are reviled. When we truly see God’s love for us and what He has saved us from we will have no problem caring for our angry and hurting neighbor. When you stand for truth you will be accused of hate speech. Lets not give them any legitimate reason to do so.