I recently spent a morning with the staff at Adsafe and encouraged them in their difficult work. One comment from a staff member still challenges my thinking: “We are a very redemptive community who lacks compassion.” What did they mean by that?
In my words, we explain and teach the redemptive grace of Jesus very well. People know that Jesus saves and saves completely. Jesus’ death on the cross took all of my sin and its penalty, and replaced it with complete forgiveness and righteousness. This is indeed redemptive and good news. But when it comes to dealing with people who stumble and fall continually because of abuse they’ve experienced, and how others and their own sins have affected their lives, we are not so patient and caring. Caring for people takes time and effort—real compassion.
Jesus modelled this compassion. He continually cared for Mary Magdalene who came back for hope and healing seven times (Luke 8:2, DA 568). As a Church it would be great if we could be real disciples and dispense such lavish grace and compassion.
Jesus is just and tough too. He said to His disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin,” (Luke 17:1,2; ESV). We don’t know what sins Jesus is talking about, but from what I see it certainly applies to sexual child abuse.
Tough, compassionate and redemptive—this is what the Church is called to be. To do this we need grace and discernment, given to us through the Holy Spirit. I am committed to this—I ask you to be too!