For one will scarcely die for a righteous person-though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die-but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
I didn't like him very much at the moment. It was the third time he had crashed his bike while cycling with his friend. Riding too close to the tire of the rider in front of him had produced two rounds of arm and leg road rash, a gash above one eye, and a pretty bad concussion. He'd punched his empathy card one too many times. I was tired, mad, frustrated, and just plain over it. I did not want to bandage one more scrape caused by drafting because it "was easier to keep up." I was done. My "I'm over it" attitude morphed into "Do I have to?" actions. I "um huh" through his grievances, nodded at the sore spots, and trudged through the bandaging. I did not want to sacrifice another moment of my time because of his self induced cycling accidents.
So what do we do when we come to end of our empathy rope?
The apostle Paul writes in Romans 5:7-8 that "one will scarcely die for a righteous person...but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." These verses impacted me two ways. First, it's hard to sacrifice ourselves for those we love. Love is hard. Relationships are difficult. People stretch us. I don't like having to adjust my routine to accommodate someone else's demands. But, relationships call for love. They require compassion. We have to constantly defer ourselves for the needs of others-even if we don't think they deserve it. And, if I have a hard time sacrificing for my husband, whom I love, then it is next to impossible for me to give things up for someone I don't love.
Second, if I find it hard to sacrifice for someone I love, think about how much greater God's sacrifice of His son is for us. We are lost, weak, angry, sinful, and in need of rescuing. We don't deserve his help, yet He gives it. Repeatedly. Mercifully. Ungrudgingly. Tenderly. Fully. He gives unconditionally in order for us to be reconciled to Him. He sacrifices so we can have a right relationship with Him. He doesn't cut off his compassion because of our repeated self induced misbehavior. He keeps on giving to us, regardless.
I know I need to work on the compassion thing, especially in the light of repeated cycling accidents. So, the next time I bandage some road rash I am going to think about God's ungrudging grace that has been lavished on me and say a word of thanks.
Lord, I find it so hard sometimes to be compassionate, especially when I have reached the end of my rope. Teach me to walk in grace.
Between a husband, 2 sons, and teaching high school my sanity is found in running and Starbucks. I have a circle of running friends who inspire me to be authentic and real as I live a life of faith before them.