“I have a next-door neighbor,” I began, “who is a nonbeliever. I have been talking to him for a long time about God, faith, and Christianity. No results. I’ve just about had it with him.”
“Ready to give up?” Stan asked.
“I am,” I said. “It’s like ‘What’s the use?’ He’s a doubter who will probably never change.”
“Don’t!” Stan said.
“Don’t what?” I responded.
“Give up,” he replied. “Don’t give up on him. Remember that the results of our faithfulness are not up to us. They are up to God.”
Continuing, he said, “Jude addressed this very point near the end of his short letter. In addition, I have plenty of personal evidence of what can happen when a person doesn’t give up.”
“How so?” I responded.
“In the first place,” Stan said, “Jude wrote that I am to have mercy on those who may be doubters.”
“Mercy? Why mercy?” I asked.
“That’s what it says,” Stan replied. “As well, and this is the second point, that’s what God showed me, you, and all of us by providing salvation through the finished work of Jesus on the cross.”
“All I have to do,” he continued, “is look to see where I would be without God’s mercy. Not a pretty sight! No assurance of spending eternity with God when it’s time. And no opportunity to get to know the Father and the Son on this side of eternity. My loss.”
“And,” he added, “I just have to look at the people who showed mercy to me. I was a big-time doubter, but God brought people into my life who didn’t give up on me. They not only didn’t give up, they prayed and they showed mercy by not rejecting me because of my doubting unbelief.”
“I know where I would be if those people had not come beside me and shown me mercy. Again, not a pretty picture!”
“Well,” I responded, “when you put it like that, I can see what it is I’m supposed to do. Show the same mercy I have been shown.”
“Amen, my friend. Sometimes tough to remember, and sometimes tough to do, but hang in there.”
And have mercy on some, who are doubting. Jude 22.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your love, grace, and mercy that provided the way for me to have the assurance of spending eternity with you when it is time. Thank you for the people you brought into my life of doubting. Thank you they did not give up on me because I was a doubter. They stayed with me, showing mercy. They helped me to see the truth and to overcome my doubting. I am eternally thankful. I confess that too often I become impatient with those who continue to doubt. I fail to show them the mercy you intend. Please forgive me. And please help me in following every step of your lead in showing your every mercy to every doubter, knowing that the results of my obedience are not up to me. Help me to show all of the mercy you have shown me. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Where would you be without God’s mercy? Are there people in your life who need to be shown God’s mercy through you? What would it look like for you to show that mercy? What if you don’t?
Comments, questions, suggestions, and the like can be addressed to The Storyteller at: firstname.lastname@example.org.