My dear friends, remember the warning you were given by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They told you that near the end of time, selfish and godless people would start making fun of God. And now these people are already making you turn against each other. They think only about this life, and they don’t have God’s Spirit.
Dear friends, keep building on the foundation of your most holy faith, as the Holy Spirit helps you to pray. And keep in step with God’s love, as you wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to show how kind he is by giving you eternal life. Be helpful to all who may have doubts. Rescue any who need to be saved, as you would rescue someone from a fire. Then with fear in your own hearts, have mercy on everyone who needs it. But hate even the clothes of those who have been made dirty by their filthy deeds.
Offer praise to God our Savior because of our Lord Jesus Christ! Only God can keep you from falling and make you pure and joyful in his glorious presence. Before time began and now and forevermore, God is worthy of glory, honor, power, and authority. Amen. (CEV)
The New Testament book of Jude is a short and quick read, but it packs a mighty big punch. Although the letter is ancient, the words from Jude are a pertinent and prescient description for today. In all corners of life, from religion to politics to families and workplaces, many people have become so opposed to other’s ideas and ways of life that they wantonly turn against each other.
Speaking into our polarized world, Jude provides some much needed direction for Christians on this earth: build on the foundation of spiritual prayer; keep in step with God’s love; help all who have doubts; rescue the perishing; have mercy on the needy; and hate evil. To top it off, Jude reminds us to offer praise to God because of Jesus.
Anyone today would find it hard to discover a better approach to life and ministry for the believer than this succinct plan of Jude. It only makes sense to follow a clear biblical agenda, especially in these days of uncertainty and unrest. What is more, Jude’s advice is applicable to anyone navigating the world of hate and injustice.
These verses sound like a good point of conversation for church leaders and bible study facilitators, as well as for those of another faith or creed who are exploring broad principles of connection with communities at odds with one another.
How might the Christian implement this into the life of the church, and of daily life? What in these biblical verses could be used in various contexts where people are belligerent and dismissive of others? Dedicated conversations around these questions may well lead to some helpful and practical ways of cultural engagement with others of differing views and lives.
May the God who created a world of diversity and vibrancy go with us as we embrace life in all its fullness.
May the Son who teaches us to care for the stranger, the immigrant, and the foreigner go with us as we try to be good neighbors in our communities.
May the Spirit who breaks down our barriers and celebrates community go with us as we find the courage to be holy in all we do while creating a place of welcome for all. Amen.