“And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgement. Show mercy still to others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.” Jude 1:22-23 NLT
When all this pandemic began to hit, I was very skeptical. I saw and heard of others beginning to freak out and rush to the store and buy up toilet paper and canned goods. (I know of one friend who bought 100 cans of Wolf chili.) I confess that my response to all this wasn’t very great. I made fun of them, reveling in the jokes of many on social media and coming up with my own. That was until I read this from a friend…
Prayer from a Pandemic by Cameron Wiggins Beim, of Washington May we who are merely inconvenienced Remember those whose lives are at stake. May we who have no risk factors Remember those most vulnerable. May we who have the luxury of working from home Remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making rent. May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close Remember those who have no options. May we who have to cancel our trips Remember those that have no place to go. May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market Remember those who have no margin at all. May we who settle in for a quarantine at home Remember those who have no home. During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, Let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors. Amen.
After reading this, I came to the horrible realization that those I had made fun of, in jest, they were simply struggling. My heart broke when I realized that some of my friends were gripped with fear. And even though I felt more solid and unwavered by the crisis at the time, there were many people sinking in despair.
My response missed the mark, and I spent some time confessing my sin to the Lord. Then I began reaching out and talking with people I knew were struggling and prayed with them and offered them hope. To my believeing friends who were waivering in their faith, I reminded them of their true identity. The fact that if everything crumbled tomorrow we’d be ok as our home is in heaven. To my unbelieving friends I offered this same hope–that they don’t have to be given over to fear but that there is more to this life.
Spend some time praying to the Lord. Beg for mercy where you have waivered in your faith, whether it was fear or pride or both. Ask the Lord to bring to mind those who are struggling who you can show mercy to.
I want to point out one more thing about the end of the verse in Jude. As you are showing mercy to others, you need to be careful not to get pulled down with them. I have a friend who feels like it is his duty to text me every scary update from the virus and I have to be careful not to join his fear. I have to remind myself, yet again, that my home is not here.