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).
This is beautiful Christina, It breaks my heart to come across people who have so many questions, hardly ever answered and very rarely with love. I know how this feels personally and I have encountered people who’s faith was nearly shipwrecked by this kind of insensitivity I guess you would call it. Thank goodness for the grace and mercy of our Lord moving them on to more helpful congregations or wiser, more loving saints. This was a blessing for me to read today, I am going to re-blog. Love you and thank you!
How often we forget the mercy shown/given us. The lack of 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 and Galatians 5:22 in so many of our interactions breaks my heart. Thank you for this!
Thanks for this post! A focus of my own blog is on faith and doubt, and I find that way too many people who struggle with doubts have not received mercy. Instead they’ve gotten harsh judgment which has only driven them away. I loved the end of your excerpt: “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.” – AMEN!
Reblogged this on Enough Light and commented:
This blog shares a great book excerpt on having mercy on those who doubt.
I totally agree with you, we should always respond with patients and love to anyone who is struggling with becoming, or remaining a Christian.
This is where the rubber meets the road in our ability to truly teach others. Our pastor has been such a wonderful example of applying this principle. He has brought a congregation of people, most of whom needed some major adjustments in their theology, to an understanding of the truth in a very gentle way without blowing them right out of the water.
Great post Christina!
Barbara Thayer says
A wonderful post my dear friend! We need to be the hands and feet of our Lord as we tenderly care for the young and those that have doubts about their faith. God has a call on all our lives. Thank you for sharing this so well.