Psalm 51:1 (CEB)

Have mercy on me, God, according to your faithful love!
    Wipe away my wrongdoings according to your great compassion!


Writer John Caird and composer Paul Gordon had my best interest at heart when they transformed Charlotte Bronte’s beloved Jane Eyre into a Tony nominated musical back in the year 2000. The musical follows closely to the novels tragic, yet ultimately uplifting, romance between the titles namesake and Edward Rochester. It was one of my favorite pieces of literature from a young age and so it is no surprise that I have an affinity for the musical adaptation.

In the end, after Jane and Edward reunite and live happily ever after, there was a line added to the musical that was not in the book, “On this occasion, we acknowledged with full hearts, that God had tempered judgment with mercy.” It’s a beautiful line and one that I think of often in my own life. God has every right to exercise judgement on me, yet I am continually met with mercy.

In this beginning line from Psalm 51, our writer seems to be asking God for exactly that, to temper judgement with mercy. Our Psalmist recognizes God as the ultimate source and creator of compassion, thus wants that compassion to outweigh any of their wrongdoings. Yes please, me too! That really is the ultimate lesson when it comes to compassion and God: that there truly is nothing we can do, nothing we can say, no sin we can commit that will stop God’s compassion from seeping through.

By Rachel Callender

For Pondering & Prayer

As we look at this new series on compassion, what does that word mean to you? Do you use it often in your day to day life? Is it something you fear is lacking within yourself sometimes? Where can you specifically identify God’s compassion of mercy outweighing all else?

Prayer: Compassionate Creator, you continually temper your rightful judgement for your merciful giving love for us. Thank you. Help us to remember to extend that same compassion to others. Amen.