By Pastor Daniel Stahl

In 1940, Audie Murphy was a 5 ft. 5 in. tall 16 year old teenager who was almost denied the opportunity to serve his country during the Second World War. Turned down by the Air Force and the Marines because of his height, he joined the Army. He was smaller than average in stature but gigantic in heart, bravery, and courage. Four years later he would be the United States’ most decorated war hero in history. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor plus 32 other medals of valor. He was America’s hero.

In contrast, I remember Branded, a T.V. program when I was young (that’s now played on the Western Channel) about a U.S Calvary Captain in the early west named Jason McCord, played by legendary Chuck Connor. McCord was the sole survivor of a fierce battle and massacre at Bitter Creek, but was judged and branded a coward. Each week a new episode brought McCord face to face with a new accuser and an opportunity to prove that “he was a man” with respectable character. He only received compassion and respect after he had proven himself in the face of conflict and testing.

Most of us have not had the applause and accolades of an Audie Murphy. Probably, more of us have felt condemnation or the stinging judgements of an accuser. But, how great does it feel to be an “object of compassion?” At the dedication of the great temple, Solomon prayed in 1 Kings 8: 46-50, “When they sin against You, for there is no man who does not sin,… forgive Your people… and make them objects of compassion before those who have taken them captive, that they may have compassion on them.”

Others may not know or understand the momentary impulse that triggered a heroic action or the circumstances of the moment that led to one’s wrong choice. God does. Even if we have not been branded publicly, the enemy accuses us and convinces us that we should be objects of wrath rather than objects of compassion. Rejoice, you are an “object of compassion!”

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