What would a mother do for her children? Ask Lynn Murphy, the woman in the photo above.
Murphy is a single mother of four children. According to the attached article, she had to panhandle on the side of the road to provide for their needs. Murphy was worried she would be arrested, so she offered to leave, and admitted she shouldn’t be there.
At that point, a state trooper would likely be entitled to condemn her for violating the law.
But instead of a citation, state trooper Luke Bonin offered her a meal and companionship. He showed her compassion and dignity.
What if this were a picture of the Church?
What if the Church were known for compassionate acts like this? What if when someone admitted they had done wrong, the Church extended mercy and grace rather than judgment and condemnation? Would the world better understand what the Bible says about Jesus?
Bonin might not realize, but Jesus asks us to do just what he did. In fact, Bonin acted like Jesus did during His earthly ministry.
Bonin offered Murphy mercy. He spared her something she deserved–a citation. Then Bonin offered her grace. He offered her a meal and companionship–both things she didn’t earn or deserve considering the circumstances.
In the same way, Jesus offered compassion, mercy and grace to those who called themselves sinners.
The truth is, we all sin. We have all made the wrong choice. And we probably all felt the sting of conviction when we did. And our perception of God was likely affected by the reaction we received from Christians.
Given the chance to repent, the best reaction we can receive from the Church is grace.
The world can’t ultimately offer the grace that Jesus does. Ultimately Jesus died for our sins. That’s the pinnacle of redemption for the wrong choices we have made.
Jesus’ offer of grace is unparalleled by the world. We not only get spared condemnation for our sins (mercy) we get forgiveness and companionship with Him for eternity (grace). Because of God’s love for us, we are getting something we don’t deserve–salvation.
As the Church, we are called to be lights for Christ in the world. That is, we are to act just like Bonin did. We are to portray the virtues of compassion, mercy and grace so others see Christ through us.
After all, our actions may be the only Bible someone reads.