Learning From Jesus’ Ministry.
This week we’ve been talking about how to show Biblical love as parents. Yesterday, we discussed the necessity of consequences that find in Scripture and that we need to gives for our children. But consequences are just half of showing Biblical love.
Scripture teaches us a balance between consequence and compassion.
Sometimes instead of consequence, God chooses to respond in grace and mercy, to ease our hurt, sorrow, despair or shame. And I believe it comes down to our heart condition, whether we have a heart of rebellion or a heart of submission.
Even when rules are broken, Scripture shows us that compassion can be available to those who submit themselves and cry out for help. This characteristic is seen most through Jesus’ sacrifice, but also through His ministry on earth, recorded in the Gospels.
The Tale of Two Women
The Gospels tell of two women living different lives, where Jesus chose compassion over consequence. Because the situation and their heart conditions, He chose to issue grace instead of punishment.
A Woman Afflicted
The first account is found in Luke.
“As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. 43 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. 44 She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.”45 ‘Who touched me?’ Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, ‘Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.’ 46 But Jesus said, ‘Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.’
47 Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. 48 Then he said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.’” (Lk. 8:42b-48)
Maybe you’re wondering, “What’s wrong with touching Jesus cloak?“
At that time, according to the Law, a woman with menstrual bleeding was considered unclean. They weren’t allowed near anything sacred. They definitely wouldn’t think of touching a Rabbi, never mind the Messiah.
Considering this woman had been afflicted with 12 years of hemorrhaging, she would have been known around town as an unclean woman. With this affliction, consider the amount of shame and sorrow.
When Jesus singles her out, someone in that culture would perceived that a rebuke and punishment was about to be issued. But Jesus sees her heart condition. She’s on the ground, trembling in fear; clearly in submission to His Lordship over her.
Moreover, she had the faith that even just the edge of His cloak was enough to heal her!
So he takes the counter-cultural response. He chooses compassion over consequence.
A Woman In Sin
But maybe you’re thinking, “Yeah Jeremy, but that woman was afflicted, she couldn’t help being unclean. How ‘at fault’ could she really be?“
Okay, well, in John 8 we find another woman in a very different circumstance.
“2 At dawn he (Jesus) appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered round him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.’ 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’ 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.
7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.
10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ 11 ‘No one, sir,’ she said. ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’” (Jn. 8:2-11)
Even though this woman directly disobeyed God’s Law and was deserving of death under God’s Law; Jesus saw her shame and sorrow. There she was, dragged into the Temple, in front of religious leaders and the socially élite, guilty of sexual sin.
What other choice did she have but to submit? Maybe she even thought, “Just kill me and end this shame and embarrassment!“
But Jesus saw something inside of her that was deserving of a second chance. So He chose grace and mercy, instead of the expected consequence that the crowd wanted.
Parenting With Compassion
How Jesus shows compassion for these two women, who had clearly broken the Law, gives us guidance as parents.
If our children are in submission, clearly understanding what they’ve done wrong, we need to be cautious on how we proceed.
Don’t get me wrong; there’s a time for consequence, but we can never rule out the power of compassion. Depending on the situation, grace and mercy may just bring about a better result.