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:22-23
As Christians and ministers of the Word of our Lord and Savior we are doctors of sorts. We must reach and teach people at whatever stage of illness we find them in; not all people are the same. Yet we seem to want to take the same approach with everyone, why? Well it stems from the fact that we want to treat a symptom instead of the underlying problem.
I love what Jude says here: Be merciful with some people but be direct with others but in all things show fear for the Lord by hating what is evil. It means that how I approach people about Christ must be met with love and knowledge of that person. How can I treat the wound if I have not diagnosed the issue?
The same can be said for our brothers and sisters that are struggling in life. We cannot treat them all the same either. Some of my brothers when in sin, I can go directly to and say, hey knucklehead, knock it off and they will understand the love in which I deliver that. Others though I have to treat a bit more carefully because they wouldn’t understand the direct approach.
In the end it comes down to the case by case situations we find ourselves. Before we treat, let us diagnose. Ask questions, get to know a person and their situation, show an interest in them and not just in numbers on our bulletin boards. Treat them as if they mattered. Nothing is worse than a doctor who doesn’t listen and treats without understanding. So too, nothing is worse than a Christian who does not show the care and love I know they possess but are just trying to get people to come to a building.
Today, stop, think and ask people. Ask them about their lives, where they are, whether or not they know Christ. Stop and consider their position in life and their emotional make-up. Find out how you can treat them best, do I need to build a deep relationship or do I just need to show them I care? Above all ask for the Spirit’s guidance and discernment and wisdom in these things. God will give you the words and show you the way, if only we will take the time to show we care.