You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you. James 5:6
Listen: James 5
Courts determine who is guilty and innocent. The innocent are not supposed to be condemned—and especially not killed. James claims these landowners have done just this. They saw people in distressed as an opportunity and took advantage of those in need. They should have seen those in distress as an opportunity to practice compassion.
Years later, Julian was the Emperor of the Roman Empire. The Christians had been growing in number rapidly and become known for caring for those who were distressed. Their reputation of compassion was so strong that Julian said it was disgraceful to him because they, “support not only their own poor but ours as well, all men see that our people lack aid from us.” Their great reputation for compassion made Rome look bad in comparison. These Christians saw and met needs with compassion.
Today we have laws that help protect vulnerable people and social service programs; however, people still experience times of distress. We can look around and see many opportunities to choose compassion. Maybe this means listening, praying, giving or serving those around us. Watch the video clip below of Student Ministries Pastor Aaron Buer telling us about some high school students in our student ministries who did just this.
We can’t solve every problem, but we can all do something. When we do—that is a faith that really works.
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
As we wrap up this sermon series, today spend a few minutes asking God for the eyes to see those who are hurting around you. Write down a few names of people you know going through hard times. How could you come alongside them to practice compassion? Write this down, pray for them and then take one step towards your practice of a faith that works.
Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.