TOO GOOD TO CARE                   Dr. Joseph Stowell        


The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.           Luke 19:10


          In Luke 19 we learn that it’s possible for really good people–like us–to perform poorly when it comes to compassion for those we consider the “bad” people in our world. The good guys in Matthew 18, the Pharisees, were distraught that Jesus Christ cared for the very people they saw as the enemies of Judaism, the people who shamelessly contradicted all that the Jewish leaders held to be of value and worth. So they grumbled among themselves that Jesus, who claimed to be God, was often found hanging out with what the religious leaders thought was the wrong crowd.


          The Pharisees had what I call a “good guys, bad guys” theology. Since God is a holy, perfect, and good God, surely His favor must rest on those who are “good” and not deserving of His judgment. As for those who are “bad,” and deserving of judgment, the only thing a righteous God would extend to them would be disfavor and condemnation. That’s precisely why Jesus Christ was such an enigma to the Pharisees. How could someone who claimed to be God spend time with prostitutes, tax collectors, and other despised elements of Jewish society? If He were really God, wouldn’t He spend His time with the “good guys” and proclaim condemnation on the “bad guys?”  The Pharisees were right about God’s holiness and justice, yet they failed to see that this holy God was also a God of mercy, grace, patience, forbearance, and love.


          If we are not careful, even if our theology is orthodox to the core, it can become distorted and misapplied. When that happens, life and compassion get distorted as well. If doctrines such as the sovereignty of God and election are not held in clear biblical balance, our hearts can easily cool toward the lost and the distraught.  Sinners will become His responsibility and not ours.  We will grow long on mad and short on mercy and the attitude of grace will be supplanted by grumbling about the wayward sinners of our world.


          No one was ever more orthodox than Christ. Yet no one has ever had a longer reach of compassion.