Caitlyn Jenner

Conviction or Compassion?

Internet buzz has been at frenzied heights with the recent Duggar molestation scandal and Bruce Jenner’s gender transition to Caitlyn. Not surprisingly, professing Christians are all over the issues with opinions trending from one extreme to the other.

More often than not, conservatives encourage compassion and understanding for the Duggars, while hammering the self-professed Caitlyn Jenner with holy conviction. The problem is that I don’t think conviction and compassion were ever intended to be mutually exclusive concepts.

Never was there a man with deeper convictions than Jesus Christ. Jesus made extreme sacrifices because of a deep rooted passion for godly living. And yet, His every breath of conviction seemed to be laced with compassion.

Are you familiar with the story of the woman caught in adultery?

“He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7b (NASB)

“I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” John 8:11b (NASB)

This type of approach to sinful behavior was typical of Jesus. The Son of Man never failed to stand for righteous living, and yet, wayward people found themselves magnetically drawn to His gracious personality.

Christ’s conviction and compassion approach presents serious problems for many professing Christians in our times. Why? It takes a depth of love, strength, and wisdom that many of us lack. How much easier it is to choose one virtue or the other; we either cast judgments or apply healing balm to wounded people.

Why should we inconvenience ourselves to prayerfully process a complex issue when we can simply take our que from our favorite talk show host? In addition, rules are so much easier to manage than the messiness of real human thought and behavior.

I don’t know about you (actually I do know), but I was born into this world a self-centered sinner. The depth of my internal dysfunction has, at times, been almost too much to bear. And as much as I wish I could say that every broken and sinful thought fled my mind the instant I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, the truth is that I must still rely upon His saving grace each and every day.

If not for Christ’s extreme compassion, I would have given up the fight for righteousness long ago. While always meeting me where I am, my loving Lord ever seeks to conform me into His holy image. How thankful I am for the age of grace in which we live!

A day will surely come when the sins of the unrighteous are judged with a heavy hand, but that day is not now. And until those who are truly devoted to Christ learn to show compassion to broken people without compromising their own godly convictions, the church will fail to rescue needy souls from the grip of a wayward and confused culture.

Conviction or Compassion? Ours is not an either/or proposition. We’re simply called to treat others with the love of Christ while learning to draw upon His eternal wisdom.

photo credit: caitlyn-jenner-bruce via photopin (license)