As I prepared this study of Romans 1:18-31 and reflected on Paul’s pointed words about the fate of those who suppress the truth they have about God, I was convicted on two accounts.
I was amazed at how I could analytically dissect this passage and expound on it and its devastating conclusion without being broken over the fate of those who do not respond humbly and by faith to the truth. It was almost as though I callously felt that those who choose such a response and life style deserve the consequences. Though that is true, should I not have compassion for them?
Then it hit me. Was I, like them, suppressing this truth, with a degree of pride? Was I rationalizing the implications and distancing myself from them when I should be concerned enough to risk my reputation by seeking to rescue some? Jude 22-23 instructs us, “Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear – hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.”
The more I thought about it the more tender my heart became. I realized that but for the grace of God this picture of increasing degradation could be describing me. Prayer and effort by others rescued me. Now as I walk among those who are suppressing the truth, rationalizing their lifestyles by developing their own rules for life, and ignoring the bitter consequences of such rebellion, my prayer is that God would fill my heart with compassion and love.
My prayer is, “Give me a heart like that of Christ, who wept over Jerusalem.”