In our desire as Christians to be Christlike, there is always a struggle between hating sin and loving sinners. We live in a world of things that trouble us. Anger becomes sin when it is out of control. There should be some things in the world we see that make us angry as Christians. A huge part of living is declaring what is evil. In our churches, occasionally one should hear sermons about the judgement of God, hell, sin, and the wickedness of abominable things.
As we travel through this book of Jude, we find the Lord dealing with this awful age of apostasy and the horrible things that is produces. When we come to the 20th verse He says, “But ye.” We are in the world but not of the world.
The Lord charges us in verses 20 through 22, “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference.”
First, we need compassion. The Word of God says in Psalm 126:5-6, “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”
The difference is made when people care. It is an easy thing to see who has compassion and who does not have compassion. Someone has said, compassion is having the hurt of others in our hearts. The greatest example of compassion is the cross of Calvary where Jesus bore the hurt of our sin debt in His heart.
Secondly we see the command to care. God says, “Have compassion.” Be a loving, caring person. The interesting thing about this particular expression is the context. In a time of apostasy, in a world that is getting worse and worse, God says that we are to “have compassion.” We could be honest about the thing. Wicked things we hear people say and wicked things we see people do make them more difficult to love. The emphasis of this Scripture is that when people are so terribly hard to love because of their wickedness, that is when we need to love more than ever.
Compassion breaks down barriers like nothing else can. Many people have had their hard hearts broken because of someone’s tears. Many people who have determined to do harm to someone have had their intentions changed by someone’s compassion. It does make a difference. We are commanded to care. The Bible says in 1 John 3:16-18,
“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”
It is wonderful to hear people say, “I love you.” You can tell when people say, “I love you” whether or not they are saying it from a heart of love. God commands us to love “in deed.” We should go out of our way to show compassion to people. We are to live above what is considered normal, above what is ordinary.
Christopher Sercye was playing basketball with his friends on May 16, 1998 when he was shot in the chest, and a bullet perforated his aorta. His friends helped him get to within forty feet of the entrance to Ravenswood Hospital and then went inside and asked for help. The hospital staff refused to help Christopher saying that it was against the hospital’s policies to administer aid to those outside the hospital. Eventually a policeman was able to get a wheel chair and wheeled Christopher into the hospital where he was helped by the hospital staff. It was too late, however, and Christopher died about an hour later.
Many times it seems that churches are surrounded by people that desperately need to hear the Gospel, yet Christians are content to share it only with those that manage to come inside their church.
Compassion costs something. “Compassion can’t be measured in dollars and cents. It does come with a price tag, but that price tag isn’t the amount of money spent. The price tag is love.” Having compassion will take us out of the ordinary routine. So many of us are bothered by the least “inconveniences,” but caring, compassionate people go out of their way, making a difference in the lives of others. Compassion is something we do, not simply something we talk about.
We should be troubled because we are not troubled. We should be concerned because of our lack of concern. We should be weeping because we do not weep. God gives us a command to care when He says, “Have compassion”
“Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” James 5:19-20