The Compassionate Centurion


When He (Jesus) entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to Him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.” (Matthew 8:5-6)

In this story of the centurion asking Jesus to cure his servant, our focus is typically on the centurion’s faith that Jesus need “only say the word and his servant will be healed.” Without a doubt, the centurion’s faith is noble and inspiring, something we all need to aspire to as we echo these words right before receiving Communion.


However, upon closer inspection, we learn the centurion is noble in other ways too, Despite the fact that his servants must obey his orders, this centurion is compassionate and caring for those under his command. He doesn’t ask: “Cure my servant so he can do more work for me.” He asks Jesus to cure his servant because his servant is “suffering dreadfully.” 


For those of us who are parents, supervisors, or managers, we could learn a thing or two about leadership from this man. Although he demands respect and obedience from those under him, he also demands compassion and respect from himself.


When our kids disobey, or an employee does something wrong, do we loose our cool and let our anger fly? Or do we take a breath, recognize the person before us was created from God’s love and grace, and redirect them with compassion and respect?


I, for one, can say I did well when I managed people for a living, mostly because they were adults and my flaw of being a people-pleaser won out over my anger. Sadly, I can’t say the same for my management of my own children.


Maybe it’s the fact that I want to be real with my kids and show my true emotions. Maybe it’s because I feel so responsible for forming them right, with the clock ticking down on the time I have left when they’ll listen to me.


If I get honest, I’m just using excuses to justify not holding myself accountable for my terrible temper. It all needs to stop: the excuses and the bad temper. 

If I truly want to raise my kids to be good and self-controlled people, I need to start controlling how I react when things go amiss. Not only do my kids deserve my love, but they deserve my compassion and respect as well. Not only will that inspire them to overcome their mistakes, but it will make me more worthy, like the noble centurion.


Copyright 2019 Claire McGarry


About Author

Claire McGarry is the author of the Lenten devotional "With Our Savior," published by Creative Communications for the Family/Bayard, Inc. and All is Blessing: Finding God in the Tensions of Life, to be published by Our Sunday Visitor in the fall of 2021. Her freelance work has appeared in various Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Focus on the Family magazine, Catechist magazine, These Days devotional, and Keys for Kids devotional. The founder of MOSAIC of Faith, a ministry with several different programs for mothers and children, she blogs at Shifting My Perspective.


  1. So true! I too have done quite well managing others when I was working full time. But I certainly do not treat my kids with the same respect and compassion as I did folks I managed at work. The clock is ticking for me too and it all needs to stop. Thanks for this great post.

    • Isn’t it crazy that we respect those we love and are raising less than we do people who were ultimately strangers to us? It’s the exact opposite of how it should be. But I do love all these gentle nudges and reminders God gives me to get me on the right path. Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Pam! Your kids are so lucky to have you!

Leave A Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.