“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him.”
Compassion arises from an understanding of the limitations and struggles of another person. When a baby dumps her bowl of cereal on the kitchen floor, we have compassion because she knows nothing about gravity. Our reaction is quite different when our twelve-year-old does the same thing. Parents adjust expectations to their child’s developmental level.
As we have compassion on our children, so our Creator, who knows all our limitations, has compassion on us. We are not flawless people. We are not masters of our own destiny. Our abilities are not limitless. God knows we are dust, and because of his frank and accurate assessment of our human condition, he is filled with compassion. God knows we will fail. God will not condone rebellion or excuse wicked behavior, but he has genuine compassion and is therefore quick to forgive.
Jesus’ ministry centered on compassion. He was moved to help the weak and helpless. That compassion led Jesus to the cross to save us in our hopeless state.
When Scripture says, “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities,” it almost makes God sound unfair. We deserve death but get life.
“Not fair” is the definition of God’s grace, compassion, and mercy—all qualities of his perfect love. Aren’t you glad that God doesn’t treat us fairly?
“Praise the LORD, my soul.” O God, thank you for your compassion, love, and grace. Amen.
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