I remember the knife stabbing pain that hit my heart the day I found out a friend of mine had been accused of some pretty terrible things. The accusers were other friends of mine. It turned out that the accusations were true, which made my heart cry out to God.
In my sorrow, I remember hearing the song, “Mighty to Save”. It starts out by saying, “Everyone needs compassion”.
Everyone needs compassion…
That was a very popular song at the time- one we sang in church on a regular basis. We all sang it…but we didn’t all mean it.
Understandably, there were a lot of people that knew my friend who turned their backs on him. Some hurled a severe amount of hate at him. When you let people down to that degree, you have to know it is coming…but oh the sting of the pain is unbearable.
Everyone needs forgiveness…
Yet another line from that song- you know the one that we all sang, but not all of us meant? Forgiveness was hard to come by for my friend. Rightly so! He did some terrible things. He certainly didn’t deserve forgiveness…but he absolutely needed it.
Let’s say what we mean…and mean what we say…
We all sang those words, but some of us didn’t mean them. In church, we all gathered around my friend and sang those words with him. The moment he needed us to mean those words…many changed their tune.
It’s time that we commit to saying what we mean.
Do you think that everyone needs compassion? If so, that means everyone- even that person who has done some pretty terrible things.
Do you think everyone needs for forgiveness? Then it’s time you stopped withholding forgiveness.
Lean into real Christianity
It’s so easy to sit in church and sing those beautiful songs. It’s easy to nod our heads in agreement to the pastor or the Sunday school teacher when they are saying “amen” worthy statements.
That’s not real Christianity though. Really following Christ means that you will show compassion and extend forgiveness to those that have deeply wronged you or others.
Real love means you don’t let them continue sinning
When someone deeply wrongs you, it doesn’t do either of you any good for you to allow them to continue hurting you or others. My friend did some pretty terrible things, and he is still paying some very hefty consequences for his actions. Holding people accountable for their wrongdoings is just as loving as forgiving them.
Removing yourself from an abusive person
You can be kind and compassionate without allowing someone to continue to hurt you. We see this example in the Bible in the way that David handled his relationship with Saul.
If you don’t know about David in Saul, here’s the quick rundown.
Saul was the King and David was a lowly servant. He came into the palace to sooth Saul by playing his harp for him. Saul developed a severe amount of jealousy towards David.
Saul was highly abusive towards David. He tried to kill him 2 times. After the second time that Saul tried to kill David, David fled from him and respected him from a distance.
There came a day when David was hiding in a cave and Saul came in to relieve himself. He had no idea that David was in there. David could have easily killed Saul and would have had every right to do so, since he had been used for target practice two times.
Instead of killing Saul, David sent him a very clear message that he had the opportunity not to take it. He respected Saul as the King, but kept his distance from him. They were never near each other after that point again.
Loving the person, but hating the sin
The thing that I learned through that situation with my friend is that I could love him, but despise what he did. He was not less valuable to God, because of what he had done. He wasn’t any less deserving of love and forgiveness, because of what he had done.
Was he allowed to continue doing those terrible things? No. We wouldn’t have really loved him if we had allowed him to continue.
Real love is confronting the sin in the other person and expecting change. If change doesn’t occur in them, then that’s when you respectfully walk away from them.
Yes, I was deeply hurt by the things he did, but I chose to love him in spite of it. Loving him doesn’t mean I was ok with what he did. On the contrary, loving him meant that I didn’t shy away from saying how disappointed I was in his actions, but that I didn’t hate him.