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Home The Light Articles from 2011 Sympathy and Sound Judgment

Sympathy and Sound Judgment

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As Christians we are exhorted or urged to "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3). The word contend in this verse is used in a combatant sense. We are "defenders" of the faith. Spiritually speaking, we are in an all-out war with everything that is not "of the faith"! If you are on the front line in this fight, tending to the wounded or simply labouring to recruit, train or encourage the "troops," then you likely understand that it is not easy to maintain a con­stant effort to defend the faith.

When we are endeavouring to keep the body of Christ pure and free from contamination, our efforts are sometimes wrongly perceived as mistreatment of the individual(s). Biblically commanded measures to help those who are sick in sin to be once again "healthy" are cast as bad treatment or abuse. For this reason, it would be of a great benefit to the strength of the church both locally and collectively  if every  member would learn to sympathize using sound judgment.




Sympathy is defined as a relation­ship between persons or things wherein whatever affects one simi­larly affects the others. It also means to have the ability of entering into and sharing the feelings or interests of another; also: compassion, pity.

While not as prevalent in our cur­rent times, some years ago it was common to hear or read the news of "sympathy strikes" in various parts of our country. Often the strikers had no direct grievance against their own employer. Many times they did not necessarily even agree with the pro­posed terms that were set forth, but were simply attempting to support or aid another group of workers who were on strike. Pity would show in situations where those at fault were guilty of the obvious violation of plainly stated rules or regulations. Therefore, bad decisions were often the result of such an atmosphere.

While compassion is a quality that lends a blessing to all life relation­ships, resolving differences should always include the ability of brethren being able to discern and compare any given situation without distortion by personal feelings or prejudices. Exhibiting sound judgment allows us to survey things from a distance. Then we should strive to make a wise decision based on the facts of the matter. There is genuine concern for the individual(s) and our only aim should be to resolve the difference according to what is right. We should not be given to pity parties nor off-the-cuff judgments. Again, while compassion should be a constant in the make-up of our character, we need to cultivate the ability to stand back from a situation and consider it objectively according to truth. Where does God stand on the matter? If this thing is sin, if it will lead our people astray-regardless of who it may affect-we need to oppose such and work to remove the sin and its oppor­tunity to contaminate! We should ever work to make sure error is not sympathized with or allowed to be promoted.

We appreciate any and every phy­sician who displays sympathy toward us or our loved ones when we per­haps face a serious health issue. Then we value his sound judgment in not only identifying the disease but in also clearly outlining the steps by which our health can improve or be restored. His sympathy without sound judgment toward better health would prove to be rather disappoint­ing, especially if we suffered from a serious illness.

Well, the sickness of sin is serious. It is so serious that not one sin unrepented of will be carried into heaven (Rev. 21:27). It is soul-damning! Therefore, we need to exhibit sympa­thy coupled with sound judgment. Has this person(s) been mistreated or are they simply looking for someone to show pity upon them in their state of error? Let us not have an emo­tional sympathy with personalities, and thus allow these sympathies to over-ride our sound judgment to look at a matter objectively. We can be certain that leaders in our congregations, not only presently but in the future, will face those who seek sympathy in their sins. That is, they will seek a favouring of their sinful con­dition and will search for others to aid or support them in their plight. Such situations do not deserve our support in a sympathy movement. More folks in our culture are leaning toward the "action without conse­quence" mentality ("It is someone else's fault, not mine!"). Such atti­tudes will only provide fuel for the sinner looking for a pity party.

Remember, we have all been vic­tims (Romans 3:23). Christians have no desire to remain in a diseased state. Therefore, let us always strive to see that our sympathy or compas­sion toward matters in the church (which most often affect our eternal well-being) is coupled with sound judgment. "If thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous man sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul" (Ezek. 3:21). -454 Wilson Hill Road, Readyville, TN37149



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