Defending God’s Children
But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.Jude 20-23
One of the common criticisms of Christianity is hypocrisy. People can walk into a church that preaches being holy as God is Holy, forgiving others as Christ forgave us, and so on. However, those inside sometimes do not seem to practice what they preach. Instead, people have experienced real hurt, harm, and even emotional trauma when attending church. “Church hurt,” as it’s known, is common enough that many who no longer attend church or have left Christianity have done so because of this reality.
The book of Jude talks about those who have “crept in unnoticed” and are described as “ungodly people who pervert the grace of our God in sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” Throughout the book, Jude encourages us to not only look for those who would harm God’s people but also to check ourselves and protect those within the church.
We are not to allow people to be harmed while they are worshiping in the house of God. This is one of those “non-negotiables” that come with Christianity. God loves and cares for his people so much that he sent his Son to die for his people. We should, in turn, love our fellow believers and bear their burdens.
The passage above applies directly to this and gives us steps to prevent Church hurt. The first is to build up ourselves in faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. This doesn’t happen alone. We must be in union with fellow believers so that we can grow together.
Secondly, we must keep ourselves in the Love of God as we wait for the Mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. If we truly keep ourselves in the Love of God, then we will seek to build each other up, encourage one another, and protect each other from those who would tear us down.
Lastly, we must have mercy on those who doubt and “save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.” This can seem a bit odd but what Jude is telling us here is that we must show mercy and love to those Christians who have doubts or to those who are not Christians. Instead of tearing them down, we build them up so that they may also come to know the love of Christ and deepen their faith in him.
This week, seek to show God’s love, mercy, and salvation to those around you and protect them from people who would do them harm.