It was about these people that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, when he said, “Look, the Lord came with myriads of His holy ones to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly deeds they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh and cruel things ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” These people are [habitual] murmurers, griping and complaining, following after their own desires [controlled by passion]; they speak arrogantly, [pretending admiration and] flattering people to gain an advantage.
Jude 14-16 (AMP)
Jude 14-16 is about false teachers in the church who, corrupted by power, pride, and greed, are out to raise themselves—instead of God—above all. They believe they are protected under the canopy of Jesus’ grace, but their actions go against God’s ways; their hearts unbridledly seek more power, more money, and more of themselves instead of more of God, causing some followers to become misguided in their faith. Jude describes how God will deal with these false teachers harshly. Judgment will be fair and just because God knows their hearts (1 Sam 16:7).
God also knows the deep damage that “church hurt” in any form can take on His children. His heart is with them. Jude’s letter is written to the congregation—stressing the importance of guarding their own hearts against the false teaching and coming alongside those wavering in their faith resulting from it.
Can I be honest? This whole letter stirs discomfort in me. Church hurt is part of my story. False teachers trigger deep and painful emotions for me and many others I love. There are other parts of Scripture that guide church leaders/elders in how to exact earthly discipline to these false teachers—but this letter asks that we congregants leave ultimate judgment to God—trusting He is fair, just, and aware of every nuance of the situation.
I want more.
I want justice for them here on earth where I can see the proverbial stoning with my eyes (and maybe even throw some myself), and hopefully experience some soothing of my raw emotions attached to it. I truly want to see churches learn from these situations and do better! This letter was written almost 2000 years ago, and the church still suffers the same problems. Why, God, why are we such a stiff-necked people?
As a congregant, Jude’s letter doesn’t ask me to deny my, or others’ church hurt experiences–in fact, it validates them. It also doesn’t ask me to point fingers or throw stones. Jude reminds me to trust God for judgment. God’s heart is good. God is just and fair.
This letter reminds me to first, stay firm in my faith. Then, to help hold up those who are wavering due to church hurt. In loving them, I am able to see God move in beautiful ways, and my faith and trust in Him is strengthened. My pain isn’t just numbed but subsides. And those I walk with will hopefully be blessed with a similar gift.
So I will continue to listen for the Spirit’s leading on how to love others with church hurt. And to trust God with my own.
- There is no map for navigating church hurt, nor is there a timeline. Know that I am praying for God to lead your heart to peace through it.
- This song, “Something Better,” is about giving God your pain. May it bless you.
- Ask the Holy Spirit for His help in allowing Him to lead you as you navigate your pain.