In Luke 18, we find the story of the young ruler. He approached Jesus and asked what he must do to be saved. At the end of the conversation, Jesus told him to sell all his possessions. But the young man, who was very wealthy, dejectedly walked away
“Jesus, looking at him with sadness, said, ‘How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!’” (Luke 18:24). Jesus’ compassion shined brightly. The Lord wanted the guy to be saved, but the pull of riches convinced the man to walk away.
Peter, on the other hand, had a different perspective on the situation. “And Peter said, ‘See, we have left our homes and followed you’” (Luke 18:28). I hope I’m not reading too much into this when I translate/paraphrase his statement like this: “Jesus, we’re good guys. Not like him. We gave up everything to follow you. Aren’t we special?”
I find it ironic that just shortly before this, Jesus had addressed such an attitude. “So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty’” (Luke 17:10). No matter what we’ve done—or given up—apart from God’s wondrous grace, we’re still just wretched sinners.
Too often, we in the Church have a haughty, condescending attitude toward outsiders. Like Peter, we think that because we’ve done certain things, we’re on God’s “good list.” No!
When someone willingly walks outside of the Lord’s mercy, we shouldn’t point out how much better we are than that person. Instead, we should have a heart of compassion, like Jesus. We should pray for that person. We should love him or her.
I think that portrays the heart of our Savior.