Compassion, Not a Report Card

by Guest blogger on January 14, 2011 · 9 comments

Guest post by Patti {Becoming Joyful})

I didn’t think I was a legalist.

I just thought I was disorganized, selfish and overcommitted. I was trying really hard to be a good girl, to be a good Christian, and if I could just get organized… read my bible harder… pray more…

Until the day, not too long ago, when I was sharing some struggles with my prayer partner and she reflected, “What strikes me is your observation that you feel like you have a long report card and you are failing in every area. That is not how God looks at you. You are not a report card to Him.”

In the gospel of Matthew the author tells his own story… how Jesus saw him and said “Follow me!” and how Matthew got right up and followed. He tells how the Pharisees complained when they saw Jesus sitting and eating with him and other tax collectors and sinners…

But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.
“But go and learn what this means: ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Matthew 9:12-13

That report card of must-do’s-to-be-right-with-God is my modern day version of those very sacrifices Jesus said He does not desire.

Because I serve an inside-out God. Who cares about my insides first, my heart…

God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7

… and wants my life to reflect a heart of love. That’s where the outside comes in. How I live, act speak… it all should be an overflow of my heart for Him. But not a checklist.

And He desires compassion. It is easy to think of serving the poor or feeding the hungry, when I think about compassion. Even extending compassion to inconsiderate strangers. Because Jesus “did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

But… where the rubber meets the road? In my home.

Those sinners called by Jesus also live in my home.

He wants me to love my husband, love each of my children, not according to whether or not they followed the rules, (including those unspoken rules tucked in my brain “thou shalt make me happy and thou shalt not annoy me”) but because He desires it.

He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
Psalm 103:10

No report cards allowed.

How does this look when my job is to train my children up in the way that they should go? Don’t they need to learn to follow the rules?

I don’t have all the answers, and I blow it regularly, but when I think about grace-filled parenting moments, the common thread is our relationship. It is my job to guide and teach our children, but with gentleness and persistence and lots of hugs, not with a report card in hand.

Funny, that’s how my Heavenly Father parents me.

And my husband? My sweet, long-suffering husband probably suffers most from my endless mental to-do list. He is a free-spirited visionary, married to a stability-and-check-list-loving homebody. What he needs most from me is a willing smile and an encouraging word.

The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. His mercies are new every morning.
Lamentations 3:22-23

Compassion, not a report card. And His compassions never fail.

Such freedom, such grace.

My prayer?

Lord, thank you for your incredible compassion for me, and for my family. Please help me to see my husband and my children with your eyes. Please help me to set aside my checklist. Fill my heart with compassion for them and extend your grace to them through me.

all scriptures from the New American Standard Bible


Beautifully written by Patti of Becoming Joyful. Read more of her wonderful writing here.

I am SO excited to tell you that Patti will be blogging her journey through the Gospels here on Fridays with a few other guest bloggers. She was part of the SONlight treatments going through Luke before Christmas and agreed to share what she finds in Matthew, Mark and John as we travel from the celebration of Christ birth, just a few weeks ago, to the celebration of His resurrection in just a few months.

If you’d like to follow along with your own reading, I’ll post a simple reading plan next week! And if you’re interested in being one of the guest bloggers, let me know that, too!

Thank you, Patti!



No report cards allowed… SUCH freedom and grace, indeed!!!

Thank you for sharing this! I have often quoted, “God desires mercy, not sacrifice” but often fail to extend that mercy to myself (and my children). Thank you for this encouraging word! I look forward to reading more of what you glean as we travel the Gospels together!


Thank you so much for having me! It IS often harder to live out the grace and freedom we have in Christ, in our families. It saddens me, but being aware of it makes me pay closer attention.

martha brady

so true. especially helpful this time of year when we are focused on “fixing ourselves up” for God and others! thanks for stating it so well:)


It never ceases to amaze me how radically different God’s idea of righteous is from mine. Boy am I grateful!


Oops, that was supposed to be “righteousness”! :-)


SO encouraging! It really gets to the heart of the matter!

Betsy at Zen Mama

Beautiful post…reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
~Dalai Lama


So encouraging and well said. Thank you for the inspirational reminder!

Jo Princess Warrior

Love this! I was once working on a report card for God too. I have shared this on my Princess Warrior Lessons FB page – too good not to share! xo

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