Compassion or Judgment?
Facing loss is never easy and suicide in particular, is difficult. How do you talk about this? Most don’t or they simply skirt the issue with euphemisms. We use words like, “untimely” and “unexpected death” to describe suicide but find it difficult to discuss the topic openly. By avoiding the issue, we leave it in the shadows.
Often, we get judgmental toward those closest to the deceased. If we don’t say it, we may feel or think it: “What was the matter with the family?” “How could they miss this?” “Suicide is the most selfish thing a person can do.” Some actually say these words—I know I have. Until this young man’s memorial service woke me up.
The message taught that day by John Lusk radically changed my heart and mind. He challenged the crowd of 400 with this simple question: Have not each of you enjoyed the compassion of God in your life? Then why won't you offer the same to Nick and his family?
John then shared this verse:
The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. — Psalm 145:9
I decided that day to focus my efforts on compassion for the hurting, not judgment on their situation. If God demonstrates compassion for me in my worst situations, dilemmas, and sin, then I need to do the same for those I love, live near, work with, and fellowship with.
As a matter of fact, when I judge others' motives and challenges, I am liable to receive the same from God and others:
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. – Romans 2:1
So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? – Romans 2:3
If you are more interested in learning about changing your judgment to compassion, read: How to Stop The Pain, by Dr. Richards. It has dramatically changed my life!
Of course, we work hard to never have suicide occur and need to continue our efforts in this area. I think our churches can do more, but judgment should never rule the day.
Next week I'll conclude this topic by discussing what God teaches us about compassion.
*Used with permission of NIck's family.