Does being overly understanding erode convictions?

I’ve caught myself before thinking about a behavior/action someone has done that I view plainly as sin and trying to resolve it with some measure of justification. Maybe it was to placate my own discomfort with a situation or to genuinely try to see it from another’s point of view (or both). I remember having this moment of realizing that I was excusing wrong behavior, weakening a stance I felt strongly about, to accommodate the poor choices of someone I cared about. That just seemed like the wrong response. I didn’t have to decide it was acceptable because another person seemed fine with it or powerless against it.

This scenario could have a hundred different applications. The crux of my question is, though, how do we be careful to not allow our convictions/views of sin to be eroded by what is possibly fear, deception, weakness, or compromise masquerading as understanding? (That is, understanding in the sense of having compassion, seeing something from another’s point of view, or being sympathetic.)



Hi, @Leah,

Thank you for sharing from your own experience. I can hear your desire to be both compassionate to people and unyielding to sin, to be firm in mercy and in conviction. I wonder if the word “understanding” is giving you some trouble, since as you seem to have noticed, it can kinda carry different meanings (comprehending, but also sometimes excusing, etc.)? Maybe finding different language around this could help clarify?

But mostly I wanted to post this response to encourage and affirm you in valuing both compassion and an unyieldingly firm stance toward sin: Jesus himself united these two things in his life and ministry. The model of Jesus tells us that compassion and firmness about sin are not alternatives: they belong together…and they are the way of Christian love.

How can we stay honest and tender enough to the Spirit to recognize our own heart motives? How can Jesus’s own love poured out to sinners (while not budging an inch in its resolve for holiness) shift our perspective on holding these two things together in our own lives?