In August of 1968 the Beatles had a hit song called “Hey Jude.” You know, the one with the compelling lyrics, “Na na na nananana, nananana…hey Jude.” The funny thing is that because it’s a light-hearted, somewhat silly sounding song many people think it’s just that: a silly song. Most people don’t understand its origin or meaning. The truth is that Paul McCartney wrote it for John Lennon’s son Julian to comfort him during his parents divorce. It was originally called, Hey Jules.
When I thought about the verses we looked at yesterday from the book of Jude and the song Hey Jude I couldn’t help but think of the commonalities. Hey Jude was written as a comfort and Jude’s words in the Bible also were written as a comfort. And just like most people have no idea of the origins or meaning of the song, the same can be said for many people and the words of the Bible. Most in the world just don’t get it; they don’t understand the deeper meanings of the words. It just seems silly.
Here’s the passage we looked at yesterday (with an addition of verse 20 thanks to Jonathan for highlighting its importance in a comment on yesterday’s post).
But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear–hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. Jude 1:20-23
Verse 22: “Be merciful to those who doubt…”
Back to what I just said, “And just like most people have no idea of the origins or meaning of the song, the same can be said for many people and the words of the Bible. Most in the world just don’t get it; they don’t understand the deeper meanings of the words. It just seems silly”
The call of Jude is to be merciful to these people.
Why is it that Christians have a tendency to do the opposite of what it says here? Why instead of being merciful do we encounter those open to discussion, but who doubt our faith, and we find ourselves pouring all kinds of energy into arguing? Why do we become obsessed with being right? Often at any cost.
Where is our mercy for these people? Where is our patience and willingness to listen? I found in my own life an alarming tendency towards not listening, but just crafting my next point.
Why do we get so defensive when people don’t believe? We are talking about the creator of the world here! He does not need us to defend him. But it seems he does expect us to be merciful. It’s not easy. After all, we have found the truth, we know what is right. Jesus is who he claimed to be and following him is the only way. But that does not remove the need for us to be merciful when encountering those who doubt.
And this leads to one other question we have to ask ourselves. Do I know anyone who doubts? Hopefully the answer is yes. Hopefully you’ve not sequestered yourself so far from the world that you don’t need to exercise this practice of mercy to the doubting. The likelihood is you do know someone—probably many someones. They need our mercy. They don’t need our arguments, they don’t need our debates. They don’t need our memorized Scripture or our guilt trips. They need mercy. They need to be loved and appreciated, they need to not be a goal or a task. They need to be a person you value and invest in.
Today, as you go about your business, be merciful to those who doubt.