By: Jerry S. Maneker

“The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the
righteous is taken away from the evil to come.”  (Isaiah 57:1)

The above verse of Scripture shows the state of the world in which we live!  In an increasingly sociopathic society, even
when good people are hurt, discounted, discriminated against, displaced, and even killed through neglect, many people
don’t seem to care.  The Holocaust mentality, which says that as long as my needs are currently being met, I’m not
going to help or even empathize with others’ hurts and needs, is endemic in a society that prides itself in “rugged

The merciful are indeed taken to a far better place!  As Jesus says in the Beatitudes, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for
theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.  Blessed are the meek: for
they shall inherit the earth.  Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.  
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.  Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.  Blessed
are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.  Blessed are they which are persecuted for
righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven….” (Matthew 5:10)

This world has very few of these types of people!  That’s why Jesus says, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the
gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the
gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)  If one has faith in
God, thereby appropriating His unmerited favor to us sinners, we enter heaven through Him.

Moreover, if we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in our souls, we will be compassionate, merciful, kind, empathic, and loving
to all others who are also made in the image of God.  As a nation, and as individuals, we will be judged on the love we
showed to others.  It won’t be in our doctrines or in the words we use, but in our being “doers of the word” (James 1:22)
that shows forth our faith in God that will enable us to live with God throughout eternity.

As you know, I emphasize God’s grace and our appropriation of that grace through our abiding faith in God, recognizing
His sovereignty in all aspects of our lives.  However, that faith must be manifested in our compassion and work with
others.  If it’s not so manifested, our faith is not the biblical faith God enjoins us to have.  

Unfortunately, our secular world possesses too few people with biblical faith who exhibit compassion to others.  We have
increasingly become materialistic, greedy, self-absorbed, and hedonistic: all characteristics that lead to lack of empathy
with others and a twisting of reality so that what Isaiah said is even more true today than when he wrote, “Woe unto
them that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and
sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20)

We have done this very thing!  We have corporate mergers and downsizing, coupled with burgeoning technology and
an economy largely demanding two-income families, that cost people their jobs and thereby displace or break up
families, throwing many into poverty.  And with a straight face say we have a good economy! The global economy and
corporations know of no such qualities as loyalty and compassion.  Only “the bottom line” has become important, not
human beings!

Knowing the Bible, church attendance, and saying the right words felt to be “Christian” are empty without the
compassion and agape love that Jesus demands we have toward each other.  He knew better than any of us the human
condition and the sinful state of our souls as He took all of our sins upon Himself, thereby nailing them to the Cross.  He
is God, but He was also man when He walked the earth, and therefore knew temptations, sufferings, and the many gray
areas of life that we grapple with; although being Perfect, He was vulnerable and very human!

I want to close with an excellent quote from M. Scott Peck, “I was absolutely thunderstruck by the extraordinary reality of
the man I found in the Gospels.  I discovered a man who was almost continually frustrated…. I also discovered a man
who was frequently sad and sometimes depressed, frequently anxious and scared…. A man who was terribly, terribly
lonely, yet often desperately needed to be alone.  I discovered a man so incredibly real that no one could have made
Him up.  [T]he Jesus of the Gospels—who some suggest is the best-kept secret of Christianity—did not have much
‘peace of mind,’ as we ordinarily think of peace of mind in the world’s terms, and insofar as we can be His followers,
perhaps we won’t either.” (Further Along the Road Less Traveled, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993, p. 160)

Jesus knew the human condition and therefore put new life, His own life, in those who trust Him.  We will frequently be
frustrated, sad, depressed, lonely, anxious, and lack peace of mind, much as do non-Christians.  However, by trusting
in the sovereignty of God, we have spiritually transcended the human condition, whether we realize it or not, so that we
can finally give ourselves permission to lay our burdens upon God and thereby find the rest that we all seek.

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