Did you ever have someone in your life who you tried your best to be loving and compassionate towards? They might be having a hard time and so you give them a break, cut them some slack. You do this because you really care about them, and because it is what God would want you to do.
Then a little bird comes and whispers in your ear, “You know, they aren’t cutting you the same slack. They don’t return your compassion or thoughtfulness. In fact, they are plotting against you.”
What’s your first reaction? “Well how dare they,” you think. “That’s the last time I’m nice to them. They don’t appreciate what I’ve done for them at all! We’ll just see if I ever give them the benefit of the doubt again. It’s time they start towing the line.”
Who was that little bird anyway? He seemed to have your best interests in mind, but I’m not so sure. I suspect the little bird might be more of a little devil, and he’s trying to get you to react to this piece of very important information he shared.
But is your first instinct the appropriate reaction? It is the natural human reaction, but is it what God wants? Read a few Psalms in which David asks God to destroy his enemies and you might think so.
Then there’s the question of whether the actions of the others, even assuming the information your little bird shared was true, is even relevant to how you should treat them?
Jesus came to save all mankind. He wept over Jerusalem. He showed love and compassion we can’t even fathom with our puny human hearts. In return, they whipped Him, spit on Him, mocked Him, and crucified Him.
Did Jesus then become indignant? Did He say, “Well forget that, I’m just going to get off this cross and head back home to Heaven right now. See if I show these people compassion and love any more!”?
No, He did not. His response was to say, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34. It didn’t matter if the people appreciated what He was doing for them, He did it anyway. He did it because He really loved them. He did it because it was the divine thing to do.
So the next time a little bird comes along tempting you to indignation, to demand appreciation for the kindness you’ve shown, picture the cross.