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Not Everything's a Nail!

Daily Reading: Jude 1

Scripture Focus: And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. (Jude 22-23)

Devotional Thought: One thing that I have learned in my 28 years of pastoral ministry is that people are different and require different responses. Jude, the brother of Jesus, recognized that as well. As he closed his brief letter "To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ," he suggested at least three ways to respond to those who were wavering.

To one group, he said, have mercy. Some people have been "knocked around" by others' evil or sin. We should try to gently "convince them the whole truth as it is in Jesus" (BBC). Patient understanding is needed to those who are hurt, lest we add to their pain and push them away.

Some we are to snatch out of the fire. We need to react to some situations with a swift and strong hand to pull them back from the danger of sin and temptation. Just as we would grab a child ready to run out into the street, there are times when we need to take drastic measures to prevent a wavering soul from sliding into danger.

On others we are to show mercy with fear "in a milder and gentler way though still with a jealous fear, lest we become infected with the disease we intend to cure" (BBC). Especially when dealing with people who are engaged in something that tempts us, we need to be careful!

There's an old proverb, "When you're a hammer, everything's a nail." As Christians, however, we are called to be sensitive to where people are and what their situation requires.

Prayer: Lord, I pray first of all that you would help me not to be judgmental. But, when I do see my brother or sister struggling, help me to respond to them in helpful ways, appropriate to their situation. Give me insight and wisdom to help and not to hurt. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: 1 O LORD, God of vengeance, O God of vengeance, shine forth! 2 Rise up, O judge of the earth; repay to the proud what they deserve! 3 O LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked exult? 4 They pour out their arrogant words; all the evildoers boast. 5 They crush your people, O LORD, and afflict your heritage. 6 They kill the widow and the sojourner, and murder the fatherless; 7 and they say, "The LORD does not see; the God of Jacob does not perceive." (Psalms 94:1-7)

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