Daily Word of Grace # 217 (April 12, 2021)
In his 1983 book Compassion: A Reflection on the Christian Life the late Catholic priest and scholar Henri Nouwen writes: ““Compassion erases the mistakes of life, just as the rubber end of a pencil removes the smudges on the paper (but) compassion is neither our central concern nor our primary stance in life. What we really desire is to make it in life, to get ahead, to be first, to be different. We want to forge our identities by carving out of ourselves niches where we can maintain a safe distance from other…This is our principal attitude, and in this context compassion means no more than the small soft eraser at the end of a long hard pencil. To be compassionate means to be kind and gentle to those who get hurt by competition.” That is indeed how the world works most often, but thankfully it is not how Our Savior does. Scripture assures us that Jesus’ “central concern and primary stance in life” was and is compassion: “When (Jesus) saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). Jesus’ compassion for you is so great it moved him to be the Good Shepherd (John 10:11) for “harassed and helpless” people, including you, and to give his life for you on the cross, where his blood has erased the mistakes of your life.
Love and Prayers,