Jude 1:23 NKJV but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.
Jude 1:23 NLT Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.
As Believers we have been commissioned to share the glorious good news that Jesus is alive and has provided a way to have an abundant and eternal life with Him. Certainly not everyone will embrace the hope that is in Him, but we are to as the Message paraphrase says, “Go after those who take the wrong way.”
In doing so we find ourselves talking to people both believers and certainly non-believers that have ideas, habits, and practices that may be very foreign to us. These can often cause one to feel unsure about how to react, anxious, or even fearful. Many times I’ve sat and had conversations with people whose lifestyles, beliefs and practices were outrageously abhorrent to me. Some people’s sin really seem to bother other, but just because their sin is unthinkable to you remember that your sin was unthinkable to God too. Our goal is to be tender to sinners. To do so we certainly don’t embrace sin or are soft on sin, but we don’t fear the sin that people engage in. Our job is to reverence God and watch out for spiritual pride. If we don’t we’ll fall head first into our own mess.
Elisabeth Elliot, an author and Christian speaker, said, “Fear arises when we imagine that everything depends on us.” Part of the fear in these situations stems from the idea that somehow we must change a person’s behavior, feeling incompetent to talk to them, or even believing that somehow we’ll be contaminated if we interact with the “wrong” people. This is selfish and only focused on our comfort. I certainly don’t advocate living every moment of your life around non-believers, but Jesus said, “I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves.” Our mission is to try to reach them and this means you’ll have to put yourself out there sometimes. However, that also doesn’t mean that everything depends on us.
Jesus is present and it is the Holy Spirit that brings conviction to the hearts of men (John 16:8). Our job is to share the letter that He has written on our hearts (2 Corinthians 3:3). So don’t fear the fire of sin that someone is in and watch out for spiritual pride which is just as bad. Instead, reverence God and love people. If you must fear; instead of fearing someone or their sin, fear for them and work all the more to share His glorious grace and love to those who take the wrong way.