Seeing the world with compassion and not fear

Seeing the world with compassion and not fear

It is easy for Christians to see our world as a threat. It is, in many ways. Governments are legislating things that Christians are either opposed to or that limit religious freedom. The views held by the majority of our societies are a long way from Biblical standards. It can feel oppressive trying to live for Jesus. Yet it is imperative that Christians don’t withdraw from the world or have our basic mindset towards the world as being scared of it.

Jesus was clearly angry with the religious leaders of his day in Matthew 23. In so many ways, they puffed themselves up and failed to do what God required of them. And, more broadly, Jerusalem and the majority of the Jewish people rejected Jesus as their King. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not recognise him (John 1:11). His own people fundamentally rejected the One the Law and the Prophets pointed to. In light of all of this, it is instructive for us to see Jesus’ attitude to the people at the end of Matthew 23. He said this:

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! (Matt. 23:37 ESV)

Jesus wanted them to come to him. He wanted to gather them and care for them. His desire was that they be saved, and he saw them with compassion.

When we see the world with all its sin and opposition to Jesus, sure, it will make us angry or sad. That’s normal. But what will we do about this? Following Jesus’ example, we should look at the world with compassion and not condemnation. We should be keen for more and more people to know about Jesus, for at the moment so many are lost.

This attitude should be seen in the way that we run the local church. We do have a responsibility to speak about the issues that our world is grappling with such as transgenderism and racism. Yet we must not just tell our people that the world is scary and we should only complain about it and withdraw from it. There are countless real people out there who are lost and far from Jesus; all these other issues are only symptoms of that truth. We should encourage people to evangelise. We should pray for our world and for specific people. We should actively run evangelistic efforts of all kinds together as a church and welcome all who come to us.

The world tells us that what any individual chooses is fine. The gospel tells us that there is only one way to be saved. We must love our neighbours and friends enough to tell them about Jesus. We must look at them with compassion and not fear.

Let’s not circle the wagons in fear at the world that has different values and standards. Let’s see the fields white for harvest and do all we can to act with compassion to those around us.