And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. – Jude 1:22
God works in people’s lives in so many ways. Every Christian is at a different place in their walk with Him. I have come to believe that a mature Christian has allowed the Holy Trinity authority over their lives. When I just “believed in God” it didn’t seem to make much difference in my life, at least in the decisions I made. But then, at 16, I found out that He loved me and sent Jesus to die for me, so I “received” Him. I still pretty much lived how I wanted to, but now I seemed to feel guilty for my poor decisions. Years later, I would allow the Holy Spirit to fill me and I actually began to turn from my sinful ways and walk the Christian walk.
I remember catching so much flack in those early days. I remember wearing my KISS shirt (my first authentic concert shirt) and a teacher telling me that I was “going to Hell” for wearing it. I remember a guy just flat out telling me that I had to stop listening to rock and roll music if I wanted to go to Heaven. Repeatedly, I remember hearing that I was a “backslider” that needed to really give his life to God. There wasn’t a lack of people who would point that finger and tell me that certain things I was doing was wrong and that I’d be judged for it. Looking back, they didn’t really help me. I hadn’t progressed to living by the Spirit and had no power to actually stop my sinful ways and, if I’m honest, I really didn’t want to.
When the Spirit got a hold of me, following Jesus became a want to, not a have to. It was only through a full year of pursuing God by going to regular church services, revival services, and reading through the entire Bible that God began to change me. I hope I never forget that . . . God changed me. I didn’t have to try harder. I didn’t have to muster up the fortitude to stop sinning. God changed my heart and I didn’t desire many of the sinful things that I desired before. I was so grateful. I began to actually keep the first and greatest commandment . . . to love God!
Jude lets me know in this verse that I must be merciful to others. It is so easy to look down on immature Christians (especially Christians who have had more than enough time to at least be halfway mature by now) and judge them by pointing out their sins and condemning them. Honestly, I have seen enough of that. How about we show mercy to people who are at different places in their walks with Christ? I think I would have responded a little better to someone letting me know that they’ve been exactly where I am and actually encouraging me by telling me how they got through it than just being told one more time that I’m going to Hell.
I’m sure glad God never gave up on me. I look back and there were so many times He’d be more than justified if He had thrown His hands up and said “I’m done with him.”
Lord, help me show others the same mercy that You have shown me. You have been so merciful to me. How can I not show that same mercy to others?
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