These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever. Jude 12-13 (NIV).
Confession: I’m guilty of insulting people on social media. Forgive me for being a work-in-progress on this, and I have no excuse for not tolerating opinions with which I disagree. In the past, I denigrated people for saying things I thought were stupid, or foolish, or just contrary to what I liked or said or believed.
That officially makes me one of the people Jude was describing here. Wrong is wrong, whether it’s online or in person. I was wrong. I’ve been wrong, and have wronged others, even innocents. On my own, nothing good can come of this.
But the good news about this is that Jesus gob-smacked me a few times. Not just once: repeatedly. I must have tried His patience. “I’m doing this again, Dave, because you didn’t learn the first time.” Only after being put in my place several times did it sink in that I have been the jerk. I make no excuses for it and plead my guilt. I don’t want blackest darkness forever, but that’s what I deserve for things I’ve said and done.
That’s where Jesus found me. It’s where He finds me – and you – every time we mess up. Every time we deserve condemnation, which means it’s pretty much where He finds us every day. The beauty of Him is that He doesn’t give me the destruction I’ve earned. Instead, He heaps love after love on me, removing the stench of sin and replacing it with His own righteousness. Then, He sends me back into the world and says, “today.”
Perhaps there were people praying for me. In fact, I know there were. There were also people who directly helped me, who advised me of better ways. Like a hard-headed jackass, I often ignored their advice, but they didn’t give up on me. Thank God Jesus isn’t a jackass.
So, here’s my unsolicited therapy advice: seek Jesus more and seek to be more like Him. Pray for those who need help; help those in your direct circle. And keep doing it. We can’t (and shouldn’t) try to directly help everyone, but we can (and should) pray for those we can’t help any other way.
For further reading: Isaiah 57:20, Philippians 3:19, Jude 14
Lord God, thank You for not giving up on me when I so often have deserved it.
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