Around 1990 there was a story that made the news everywhere about a young boy (maybe 11 years old) who beat a little kid (maybe 5 years old) to death in the Campbell/Savona area of upstate New York. My mother was the killer’s teacher, so I paid a lot of attention to it.
Everyone’s reaction to what happened was one of shock, disgust, and furor. But I saw an interview with the boy’s parents that intrigued me. They were aghast at what their son had done. How could they not? It was horrible. But their furor was spiked with compassion. How could it not? The killer was, after all, their son.
In today’s reading (Romans 1) we see the wrath of God against the sin in the world. How could He not be angry? It’s horrible. But God’s furor is spiked with compassion as well. And how could it not? The sinners are also His sons and daughters.
We’ll see much more of God’s compassion throughout Romans, but it’s already hinted at here in chapter one – God’s made a way to save sinners, for the unrighteous to become righteous.
Seems to me that the difficult part for us is have both the fury at sin AND the compassion for sinners.
Which is more difficult for you to maintain?