"Be merciful to those who doubt"
The voice on the other end of the phone was angry, belittling, and even hostile,
"Pastor, do you know what your problem is?"
"Um, who is this?" I asked.
Ignoring the question, the man kept speaking, "Your problem is that your an opinionated &%?#@. You go on and on about Jesus and sin and what's wrong with everybody else. I thought you Christians weren't supposed to judge?"
"Sir, it's clear I've offended you somehow. Have we met previously? Have you been to our church or have I met you somewhere in the community?"
"I've never stepped foot in your church and never will. I don't need to hear one of your sermons to know what you Christians preach. Our country would be better off without you people."
"So we've never met?" I asked.
"No we've never met and I hope we never do", he replied. The 'bang' on the other end indicated the man hung up rather violently.
To this day I still have no idea who that was or what prompted that phone call. But this kind of behavior shouldn't surprise us. The apostle Jude reminded his congregation of an important truth. He said, "dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, 'In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires'” (Jude 17-18).
What is more significant is what Jude told his congregation to do in response to such mockers: "Be merciful to those who doubt" (v.22). Those who doubt and reject the Christian message are not our enemy. They are the perishing. They are the ones trapped by sin and deceived by Satan. They need our love and mercy, even as they pour out angry and malice towards us.