Jude 1:22-23 – Comfort The Disturbed

Jude 1:22-23

Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. Jude 1:22-23

9 Foot Giant

In 1 Samuel 17, a small teenage boy takes food and supplies to his brothers fighting the war against the Philistines. Upon arrival, David realised everybody, including the King and the other army officers, were afraid of the 9 feet tall Philistine called Goliath. Like any other man, especially a small teenager, he should have been scared to his core. But, the experiences he had while shepherding alone in the bushes testified to the character of God. Therefore the faithfulness of God comforted him, and the young David faced up to the gigantic enemy and killed him.

In 1 Kings 17, we find a close analogy of discomfort to the comfortable. The Lord leads prophet Elisha to the widow of Zarephath for food. The widow who resided in the land of Israel was financially afflicted. The woman and her son only had a handful of flour and oil left, yet the prophet Elisha asked her to make him a loaf of bread. When the woman obeyed, the bible tells us that the flour in the jar and the jug of oil never ran out, just as God had said through the prophet.

Tough Love

Every time I read the words of the text above, I remember our Lord Jesus’s character. He comforted the disturbed while still disturbing the comfortable. To be effective as believers, we must be ready to practice the words written by Jude. Like David and Goliath, the Lord is ready to give us comfort when we are afraid, but also He is willing to challenge us out of our comfort zone like the widow of Zarephath. The grief-struck, downtrodden, outcasts, weirdos are all deserving of the words of the Lord (Luke 4:18).

Jesus showed mercy without having any preclusions, but He also did not mince his words when speaking to the rich and arrogant. He taught the truth without diluting it, no matter who was in His audience. He asked his disciples to give up their homes, families, and land for the gospel (Luke 14:26). Many times, God wants to bless us, but we are afraid to move out into a new place of instruction.

Snatched From Fire

When Israelites stayed too long under Mount Sinai, they forgot that it was not their destination (Deuteronomy 1). They had a long way to go before reaching Canaan. It took God’s instructions for them to break out and advance. Someone said, “good is the enemy of better and better is the enemy of best.”

As we contend for our faith, we must also be willing to comfort those who are doubtful.

God mercifully sanctifies even those who respond to his mercy with doubt. Showing mercy and comfort is characterised by compassion, patience and correction. We are then able to deal with others in the same way that God would deal with us. However, for those who are perishing in their comfort, we must act with urgency and snatch them from hell.

King James Version (KJV)

“And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”

New International Version (NIV)

“Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.”

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

“And have mercy on some who are wavering; save others by snatching them out of the fire; and have mercy on still others with fear, hating even the tunic defiled by their bodies.”

New American Bible (NASB)

“And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.”

English Standard Version (ESV)

“And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.”

The Living Bible (TLB)

“Try to help those who argue against you. Be merciful to those who doubt. Save some by snatching them as from the very flames of hell itself. And as for others, help them to find the Lord by being kind to them, but be careful that you yourselves aren’t pulled along into their sins. Hate every trace of their sin while being merciful to them as sinners.”