Thursday 9 April, 2015
17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. 20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. 22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.[a] 24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
Ridicule is great! It so much easier than rational argument. No need for any facts. No need for logic. No need to engage with the ideas you are rejecting – no risk you may actually find out they are right. Just the complete bucket of lukewarm spaghetti tipped on whatever idea piques your hatred. Perfect for dragging others down without the risk of exposing any positive idea to scrutiny. The perfect tool for the bigot.
It’s no wonder you see ridicule used so often on the internet, at the pub, in political “debate”, and especially in response to anything Christians say. But we have been warned this would happen.
How should I respond to scoffers?
I take ridicule as an admission of defeat. Its saying “I’m much too threatened by what you’re saying to let it go, but I have no rational argument against it”. I’m not sure they are ready to admit that, though.
What should I do?
Ridicule really annoys me (you may have guessed). I feel the urge to respond in kind. But that is exactly the wrong response.
I need to do the opposite. Build up not tear down. Love not hate. Show mercy not revenge. Be confident in the God who rescues me, not fearful that the scoffers may be right. Reach out and engage, not reject the scoffers – just rejecting the sin they espouse.
Father fill my response with faith and grace and mercy. Give me a response that will bring the scoffer closer to you.
(The last two verses are superb! There is so much in them a suitable response couldn’t possibly fit in this blog. You’ll be rewarded if you meditate on them.)
Written by David Cornell
That’s very true David. I always love your responses. I wish I had more skill in answering scoffers. The right gracious words could help them to understand or at least lessen fear and opposition. But I think it also says that there are some people who are so sinful and way out that we should not engage with them at all – v 23.
What I find interesting is that in the midst of a passage on how unGodly people behave and almost as a reaction Jude has told us what we are to do. v20 – We are to build up our own faith.
What I like about v20 is that our faith is our responsibility and we are the ones who have to strengthen it. (Not the church leaders, but us). Like a body builder lifting weights we are to exercise our spiritual faith muscles by praying in the Holy Spirit.
Thank you both David & Dimity