Throughout the Bible, there is a recurring theme of compassion and justice. God commands it and Jesus lived it. If we want to be emulators of Christ we need to demonstrate both compassion and justice in everything we do. Few would admit to not being either compassionate or just, but sometimes it is good to take a step back from the fray and examine our own actions.
Every day we are surrounded by opportunities to act unjustly towards one another. We make split-second judgments of people based on their outward appearance and then act in accordance with those judgments toward that person. Whether or not a person is well dressed or sloppy, clean or dirty, smells nice or not, smokes, drinks, spits, swears, etc., these all affect our opinion of that person. That opinion combined with their cultural group shifts a scale in our mind that determines how we will treat them. It makes the decision of whether we walk by without looking them in the eye, smile at them, or engage them in conversation. This is so ingrained into our society that it seems very normal. It is not normal, it is sin. It is acting unjustly toward others. God created everyone in his image; he does not discriminate between anyone. Anytime we discriminate, for any reason, we are not acting with justice. We are to treat all people the same and seek to care for their needs. In this way, acting justly leads us to live compassionately.
To live compassionately is to see the best in other people; we are to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. We need to actively seek to look beyond their outward circumstances and endeavor to empathize with them. Picture yourself in their shoes; how would you feel? Reach out to them in love. Instead of looking down on people, look at them instead through the eyes of Jesus; look at them through His perfect eyes of love. Never presume to know what someone else is going through. Instead, simply make yourself available to them. Share a smile, hold a door, give a kind word. You may be their best chance to see the love of God in action. That is why we must be compassionate to all people and at all times.
Take a look back over your day and your week. In what ways could you have acted more justly or with more compassion towards someone with whom you came into contact? Learn from your mistakes, and use them to do better tomorrow. Failing is not failure if we learn and grow from the experience. Tomorrow, and from that day forward, show justice and compassion to everyone you meet. You’ll be amazed at how good it feels.