Search This Blog

Monday, 13 October 2014

Ephesians 4:32-5:2

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Jesus has a monopoly on compassion in the New Testament. It's his word, his attribute, his character defining feature. It is the thing that compels Christ to act: an inner disposition, a holy discontent, a willingness to be broken by others brokenness that must result in doing something. In healing, in reaching out, in weeping. Mark 1.41, 6.34, 8.2, Luke 7.13. Compassion is no mere pity. In pre-Christian Greek the word doesn't have any of these connotations. It means the inner parts of a sacrifice, literally the bowels, the word used to describe Judas's spilt intestines in acts 1.18. It is a gut wrenching feeling, a twisting of the deep insides in response to fellow humanity's plight, a physical Ouch of identification with another.

In our community of late there has been much quabbling and quibbling, undercurrents of resentment, flashes of anger, the taking of offence. The world's solution to such behaviour is at worst a kind of tit for tat retaliation and at best a kind of enforced civility through gritted teeth: I'll be nice to you but the grudge runs deep; my catalogue of recorded wrongs is ready to be re-plundered at slightest provocation so don't you dare pee me off. But Jesus shows us a higher way. His way, the messianic peculiarity of compassion, of forgiveness, of kindness is the one which we are called to imitate. As those who know the loving compassionate kindness of a merciful God so we act. No Hugo Boss or Calvin Klein odour to demarcate us but the fragrance of compassion, the sweet scent of a live laid down.

No comments:

Post a comment