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Patience and Compassion

Briefing: Have you ever had to hold someone against their will? When my kids were very little, they hated getting shots. I hated it even more because I had to hold them still while the nurse stuck a needle in their arm.

Dispatch (Assignment): Read John 8:48-59.

On the Street: As a police officer, some of the hardest calls for me involved children. I remember several family violence arrests where the dad was going to jail and the children did not understand why. They hated the police officers because we were taking their daddy away.

I worked an injury accident one morning, about 10 a.m. When I arrived, one driver was out of her car but the driver of the other car needed to be transported to the hospital. As I was getting the information from the female at-fault driver, I noticed she had been drinking. I went to her vehicle to check for beer cans and noticed her daughter was still in the back seat. She was not injured but was handicapped. I pulled her out of the car and carried her to my patrol vehicle until an ambulance showed up. The mother had forgotten her daughter was in the car. I checked the mother’s record and found she had prior DUI charges, including one where her daughter sustained injuries that left her handicapped. I was so angry at the mom. I had no compassion for her.

It is easy for us to have compassion for children. They are often times innocent victims. Having compassion for adults is a different story. They make their own decisions and choices. They are usually responsible for the trouble they are in.

Jesus had compassion for everybody. When I read these verses in John, I see Jesus having compassion on people that I would not give the time of day. They are so childish. In verse 48 they start name calling and accusing Him of being demon possessed. Earlier in this chapter we read that these same people had believed Jesus. Now they are saying He is demon possessed?

Their pride swelled like an old rooster who sticks his chest out as far as he can. Jesus is trying to point them to the glory of God and feed them truth but they refuse to listen. Instead of getting angry with them, He continues trying to convince them. He even stays to the point of being killed by the mob. Had He not been able to escape by supernatural means, they would have stoned Him to death. I would have left long before this.

Have you ever found yourself in this position? Jesus wants to help you overcome sin but you refuse His help. You find yourself committing the same sin over and over again. Jesus’ compassion takes on a whole new meaning when we turn it back on ourselves. All I can say is thank you Lord for your compassion on me, a sinner.

Jesus calls us to show this same compassion on people who cross our path. People who serve in the criminal justice system see criminals and the worst in society on a regular basis. Because we are in a position to see them during these times, we are the ones Jesus calls to reflect His compassion, grace, and mercy. We are in a unique position to show Christ’s love to the least of these. This is a hard devotional for me to write because I am preaching to myself.

In Matthew 25:40 (NIV) Jesus said, “The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Investigational Resources: Jesus’ sermon on the sheep and goats is found in Matthew 25:31-46.

Officer Safety Principle: Be compassionate; show grace and mercy.

from The Gospel of John Through the Eyes of a Cop
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
Click here to check out the entire Through the Eyes of a Cop series!