Monday, April 9, 2018
“Grace, love and pity he shows.”
Hymn: “Why Do I Sing about Jesus?” – Words & Music by Albert A Ketchum (1894- ?)
Grace and love are pretty familiar church terms because they are tossed about freely in our sermons, Bible studies, hymns and songs. If asked what two attributes of God are favorites, most would probably respond with these two. I, for one, consider the grace (or mercy) of God to be at the top of my list.
This hymnline, however, employs a less-often uttered term among us believer-types. Perhaps because none of us wishes to be pitied by another, we avoid the word. “She’s just pitiful” or “It’s a pitiful mess he’s gotten himself into” are phrases we’d rather not have spoken about us.
But “pity” is great descriptor of the kind of grace and love expressed in the example of Christ. Pity is simply a substitute term for compassion… especially compassion that is felt because another is suffering some kind of loss or misfortune. One of the definitions I came across was a “fellow feeling” – a shared understanding of what another is going through.
It is not at all positional: a looking down upon. It is not objective: viewed from a distance as we wag our heads and say, “Oh, you pitiful person.” Instead, it is identifying with another, putting ourselves on the same level… standing on even ground with all human strugglers.
Grace, love and pity. In the life, ministry and teachings of Jesus, we find these three things on display… always. Because he is our example, we should set out to exhibit these three… always!
Stop using “pity” in a negative context; move that term over to your positive column. Approach the one who stands before you as a fellow-feeler. Even if you haven’t faced the same difficulty or dilemma, you can identify with having been a deflated wanderer who – for some period of time – lived as one without hope.
“Grace, love and pity he shows.” It is show-time for the rest of us!