And have mercy on those who doubt – Jude 1:22
Did you know that God has a pattern for the Christian worker? If we desire to be workmen “approved by God”(2 Tim 2:15) we should pray, among other things, for grace to care deeply for the well being of souls entrusted to our care. Whether you are a pastor or not, it matters little. There are people providentially placed in your life who belong to God. Of His little ones, He asks, “Will you be gentle?”
“Churches are filled with people who doubt. Young Christians especially have doubts. They have doubts about the Bible. They have doubts about the Christian faith and the exclusivity of our message. After all, stimulating professors and newfound friends from a variety of backgrounds can challenge a faith that was merely assumed to be true until now.
“Pastor, how can I be sure that the Bible is true? And are you really sure that I can’t love Jesus and still do what I want with my body? You know, others teach differently than you do on this. And they seem kind and sincere.”
On such as these, Jude says, “have mercy.” Interestingly, the word here translated “doubt” is the same as the word translated “disputing” in verse 9. Every word has a range of meaning, and while doubt is probably the better choice here, I can say from pastoral experience that sometimes a young Christian with questions falls into disputation.
How are we to handle this when it happens? Perhaps some words Paul gave Timothy can be broadly applied to all of us, and not merely those of us who are shepherds. “The Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone … correcting … with gentleness” (2 Timothy 2:24, 25). Don’t be harsh. Don’t think that behind every question a budding heretic is getting ready to emerge. Be helpful. Invest in relationships. Be known for your patience and your love. “Have mercy.” That is how to contend for the faith.”
David R. Helm, 1 & 2 Peter and Jude: Sharing Christ’s Sufferings, Preaching the Word, 346-47 (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2008).