“These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want” (Jude 1:16).
I read recently that only about 40 percent of church goers are Christians.* If you’re a church goer, that statistic makes you question your salvation. I thought it was more like 80 percent. Sure, a few here and there might not really be Christians, but the vast majority are, right? Apparently not.
What do we do with verses like those in Jude? It’s an entire book ,albeit only one chapter long, about those in the church who don’t actually follow the Lord! Jude knew this was a serious problem. He says people like that cause divisions in the church, use God’s grace as an excuse to sin, defy authority, care only for themselves, and rebel (Jude 1). The Bible describes them as “dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you,” just from sharing a meal together (Jude 1:12). Our verse explains them as “grumblers and complainers” (Jude 1:16).
I don’t know about you, but as I read this, I couldn’t help but think, “I know people like that!” Unfortunately, I know people who flatter others just to get what they want (Jude 1:16). I know a whole group of people who will try to stop me from pursuing God’s will for me if I spend much time with them.
So what do we do? I mean, nobody’s perfect and we’re supposed to be around non Christians too, right? Thankfully, Jude tells us. We’re to build each other up and to pray (Jude 1:20). Note that he doesn’t say we’re to snuff out the non Christians and kick them out! Instead of complaining or praising to get what we want, we’re to show mercy to others, loving the person, but hating their sin (Jude 1:22-23). We can do this when we remember that God is the One responsible for keeping us in Him (Jude 1:24).
Do you know a person described in Jude’s book? How can you show them mercy without falling into sin yourself? If you truly know someone like that, you know how difficult it can be. Let’s start with prayer. Pray for those you know like this and how you can show them mercy without compromising your faith.
*From the book I Am a Church Member (Rainer).
Photo credit: Laura Stanley