by Christopher Harbin

Saved by Compassion
Christopher B. Harbin
Titus 3:1-11

Often enough, we enjoy showing compassion for others, perhaps more than we should. On one hand, compassion is a very positive trait. We should reach out to others to offer support, assistance, aid, and a listening ear. We should seek out opportunities to help people with chores that tie them down overly much. We should willingly offer assistance and material help. On the other hand, we run the risk of helping others simply in order to make ourselves feel better or even superior. We may too easily fall into the trap of helping ourselves in our offering assistance that effectively does more harm to others than good. It can do so in part, when we focus too much on ourselves and our own sense of worth. In so doing, we do not take the time to truly learn how our actions affect others, especially those we are attempting to help. Our compassion may become more directed at ourselves, creating a burden on others, rather than a help.

In Jesus' ministry of teaching and example, we see that compassion is integral to all he does. It is to this same character of compassion that Paul calls Titus to remember and would call us to imitate. Compassion, mercy, forgiveness, and love are the embodiment of what God has done for us in Christ Jesus. Paul states that compassion was the motivation behind God's offer of salvation to us. It was the underpinning and foundation for our relationship with God, both in the time of Christ and in the present. It is due to God's compassion for us that we can draw near to God in hope and assurance.

In approaching the issue of God's salvation based on compassion, Paul begins by talking about submission to authorities. He follows that up with a call to do good. It is interesting that the two themes are linked. Of greatest interest here is that real compassion requires an element of submission in order for our acts of compassion to be truly beneficial, good, productive, and transformative. ...

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