Kind Cuts

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Original photo of Irish sword by Søren Niedziella 

Daily Reformation, Psalm 19:1-14

From the Reformer

Although the Prophets are severe in denouncing the wrath of God against men, yet they do not lay aside human feelings. It is therefore necessary that they sustain a twofold character; for they must proclaim the judgment of God with high and unshaken courage, so that they would rather choose that the world should be destroyed and utterly ruined than that any part of His glory should be taken away. And yet they are not devoid of feeling, so as to be unmoved by compassion for their brethren, whose destruction their office lays them under the necessity of foretelling. These two feelings, though they appear to be inconsistent, are in full harmony…

—John Calvin, Commentary on Isaiah

Pulling It Together

It is natural that one might feel conflicted when preaching and teaching God’s word. At some point, the thought may occur that a particular word could hurt a person or two in the pews. The sense of conflict is the human spirit trying to reconcile God’s leading with human compassion for the feelings of others. It must go beyond feelings however, for it to be genuine concern.

If the medical doctor were concerned only for the feelings of his patient with cancer, he might not mention tumor, surgery, or medicine—opting instead to share a pleasant joke to make him “feel” better. Yet speaking the word of God is sharp—sharper than any scalpel. (Heb 4:12) Let compassion be ruled by the word of God and your cuts will be kind.

© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reformation: Devotions with the Reformers

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