Strong & Benevolent (a guest post)

GUEST POST from my wife, Kelly Jannett!   So proud. She does devotions regularly…first time giving a guest post here : )

Scripture: Jude 1:20 But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; 21 keep yourselves in the love of God; look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on some who are wavering; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; and have mercy on still others with fear, hating even the tunic defiled by their bodies. 
Observation: Jude tells us that he writes this letter asking the readers, “to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (v. 3). Why? Because there are intruders. 
INTRUDER ALERT! INTRUDER ALERT! INTRUDER ALERT! 
Application: I must confess my naivety to most things political. Sometimes I’m blissfully naive, and other times I come across as a political nincompoop. 

     It is mostly my fault. I simply don’t pay attention. We don’t have cable, so I don’t watch the news; I use social media almost exclusively for the social or entertainment aspects (and to get recipes), so I often overlook posts which appear too politic-y. 

     And then I’m blessed with the curse of indecisiveness. Not only do I have difficulty making up my own mind, but I am easily swayed in my opinion. When I do read those politic-y posts, I’ll read what one friend has to say, and think she’s a genius. Then I’ll read another friend’s opinion and decide he has it all figured out. 

     This leaves me feeling ashamed. And sure, I’m ashamed that I often choose not to vote, not because I am ungrateful to those suffragettes who overcame HUGE obstacles to give me the right to vote, but because I DO NOT KNOW who the best candidate is for the job. Heck, I usually think neither one is a good choice, so I’m trying to pick the lesser of two evils. And then after I vote, and I hear what/who others voted for, I doubt myself even more. 
But I also feel ashamed of my faith. 

     

     A few weeks ago, Michael shared some insight from Brian McLaren in his sermon. And it was one of those times you sit there and think, “Wow, the pastor wrote this sermon for me.” So, here’s a synopsis of what Brian and Michael told me. Some Christians believe that to live out their faith they must be strong, and when they are strong in their convictions, it often leads them to be hostile to those who believe differently than they do. Along this line of thinking, if you are not strong & hostile in your faith, then you must be weak in your convictions and benign in your faith. 
     This is how I felt…my faith is weak & benign, because if my mind is so easily changed, then I can’t have strong convictions, right?
     However, Michael & Brian offered me hope through a third option. The same hope Jude offers in this passage, and the same hope Jesus lived out during his earthly ministry. 
     What if I can have faith, what if you can have faith, what if we can have faith that is strong & benevolent? A “most holy faith; pray[ing] in the Holy Spirit; keep[ing ourselves] in the love of God; look[ing] forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ,” & “have[ing] mercy on some who are wavering; save[ing] others by snatching them out of the fire; and have[ing] mercy on still others with fear.”
     Because if I think that there is no way we should allow these refugees into our country because of what happened in Paris, and because one of my friends, whom I’ve always looked to as a spiritual stronghold, has a very compelling personal life experience, which seems to demonstrate that doing the ‘nice’ thing isn’t at all like doing the ‘right’ thing; but then I start to wonder, “Who are the least of these? And how do we do unto them?” It does not mean my convictions are weak and my faith is benign. Instead, it shows my convictions are evolving; my compassion is growing; I’m willing to be more merciful. And I think Michael, Brian, and God are telling me those changes indicate both strength and benevolence. 
Prayer: Merciful Father, allow our convictions to continue to evolve, grow our compassion infinitely, and help us to become more merciful, so that through you, we may live out a faith that is strong & benevolent. Amen

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