“And others save with fear, pulling [them] out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” Jude 1:23
I made the comment yesterday that Jesus calls us to more than a passive compassion. HE calls us to step into lives and save them; But how do you rescue someone who is out to destroy themselves, you and everything you hold dear? The long story short is you can’t. Even when a person is not out for a pound of flesh (as secret-slipper-inners always are) you cannot save them. Only Jesus saves….And yet he calls us into the fray many times to offer the saving grace of the cross. He uses us…flows through us to manifest His grace to others.
A number of years ago I had the opportunity to minister to a secret-slipper-inner. In his sin he had risen up to cause me harm and honestly my first reaction was to cause harm right back. I remember agonizing over the issue one morning at the altar and the voice of the Lord said, “If you know a brother has aught against you leave your gift at the altar and go and be restored.”
My first thought was “Go to him? I am the one offended here! I am the one attacked.”
The Lord said “You aren’t completely innocent go and as far as possible be reconciled.”
I went. I apologized. I sought reconciliation. It didn’t work. A short time later the man left the church…but I learned a valuable lesson. I was left unscathed by the event because I had done everything in my power to display the saving love of Jesus in the situation. I was vindicated because I obeyed and took a step to try to save the relationship and breathe restoration into the situation according to the Word of the Lord. This is what I believe Jude meant when he said “save others… pulling them out of the fire.”
God doesn’t want peace at any price. The church is called to hold a line of righteousness and purity. But as far as is possible he wants us to make peace with all. He desires unity in his body. He will call us to sacrifice pride, time, energy and resources to establish and maintain that peace. He will call us to confront sin where it manifests and then go the extra mile not just to cut the sin out but to restore the ones who have fallen.
I’d love to hear your thoughts!