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.
Like firefighters rushing into a burning building, we are called to rescue those whose faith has been damaged by false teachers. Jude describes the false teachers as “grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage”(Jude 16), but reminds the faithful to have mercy on the doubters.
First, mercy in action means that we show kindness and concern to those in need. Mercy distinguishes the life of a Christian to do good by restoring others. Paul told the Galatians that those “who are spiritual should restore (the one caught up in a sin) in a spirit of gentleness. In response to the false teacher described by Jude, we are to point them back to the accurate dependence on Christ and a biblical view of our response to God’s mercy and grace.
Second, we need a healthy fear of sin ourselves. While we are having compassion for the individual we must have a proper view of the consequences of falling a false teacher so that we are not led down the same path. If sin (greed, sexual immorality, pride, etc.) wasn’t attractive at some level, then no one would be tempted to head off in the wrong direction, right? So, let’s remember the consequences – the broken lives, families, and relationships as we run into the fire.
Is your heartbroken for those who are wandering in the darkness? What can you do?