Jude has so far told us to be different to those around us, and to build ourselves up in our most holy faith. Today, what do we do in relation to those who are stuck under the false teaching detailed in vv.8-13? What do we do in relation to those who doubt that Jesus Christ leads to eternal life?
22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
There are a couple of things that come out here – one is to have mercy on those who doubt.
Doubt, inherently, isn’t a bad thing.
Doubt is human and doubt is universal, says Os Guinness. We live in a broken world and to doubt is sadly just a part of life.
Very simply, all that can be believed can be doubted, and it is no surprise then that our faith, the most holy faith that Jude has written about can be doubted. To doubt means to have two minds, and rather than suppress doubt, we should look into the questions we have in our minds.
Some doubts come from the will – do I want to follow Jesus?
To this, the Bible has a strong response – James 1.6-8.
Some doubts come from the mind – can this be proven?
To this, the Bible has a softer response – Isaiah 1.18.
Here, Jude is talking, it seems, about doubts of the emotion – how do I feel about all of this?
Coming off the back of talking about mercy and love and eternal life, Jude then says have mercy on those who doubt.
Psalm 73 also speaks of the response to doubts of the heart.
Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
So, is it ok to have moments of doubt? Yes.
How do we interact with those facing emotional doubts about their faith? With mercy.
Author Charles Hummel said that a stronger faith can emerge through doubt, and that holiness and faith are strengthened in the fires of temptation.
It’s ok to doubt, it’s not ok to reject, but it’s ok to ask questions, it’s ok not to know all the answers. There is mercy waiting.
Point to ponder – What do I have doubts about?
Prayer – Father, we know we have moments of doubt. We know we want to follow you, and sometimes we have doubts of the mind or the emotions. We know too that when this happens, your loving kindness and mercy are there waiting for us to strengthen our faith, to uphold us, and to show us that our faith is one of steadfast hope. Thank you. Amen.