Verse 19: “A man of great wrath will suffer punishment; for if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.”
Although the concept of “tough love” is easier to administer than grace and mercy, today’s “gold nugget” is a case where not rescuing or aiding someone is the right thing to do. (Or should I say the right thing not to do?) “A man of great wrath will suffer punishment; for if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.” When we are talking about a stranger’s scenario it is easier to say, “He made his bed. He needs to lay in it.” Although today's gold nugget may apply in that particular case, our attitude plays a vital role in whether we are reacting justly or not. If we are reacting without compassion when we say, “He made his bed. He needs to lay in it.”, we should be very sorrowful for our lack of compassion. If we do not have compassion, it is not our place to make such statements.
While it is easy to conclude someone will not learn unless they suffer consequences, we sometimes reserve such judgment for those further away from our hearts. When it comes to our family or especially our children, we often take a different position. What is the difference? Well, it’s pretty obvious, I know. Our family is our family, but the difference comes right back to compassion. We have compassion for our child that repeatedly failed to do their homework and shouldn’t be allowed to go to their friend’s for the weekend. In today’s families we are more likely to “rescue” our loved ones from the punishment that today’s scripture says should befall them. Just as lack of compassion leads us to conclude, “He made his bed. He needs to lay in it”, compassion with lack of wisdom will lead us to rescuing a loved one time and time again. When it comes to people (family or foe) we need to exercise both compassion and wisdom and never one without the other.
Lord, help us to posses the wisdom to know when we should rescue someone and when we should allow space for them to learn and repent. Keep us from being enablers to those who continue to do wrong. Amen
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