May 3, 2021

Addressing False Beliefs with Godly Encouragement

May mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you.Jude 2


We often skip over the first few verses in the Epistles, as if they’re just random words in a cordial greeting. But there are no insignificant verses in the Bible. Jude greeted these believers with carefully chosen words. Their faith was being undermined by false teaching; they just didn’t realize it yet. So Jude opened with a prayer of sorts, to encourage them before exposing the threat. His approach teaches us a lot about addressing false beliefs and unbiblical ideology.


Jude didn’t say that mercy, peace, and love should be added, but “multiplied.” In order to recognize and recover from the enemy’s lies, believers need to fully experience what we already have in Christ Jesus. These godly traits work in their fullest capacity when we’re completely dependent on the Holy Spirit.


So, why did Jude choose these particular traits—mercy, peace, and love? Well, praying for mercy conveys that God’s kindness is never lacking, even in difficult circumstances. When we’re full of mercy we live in the awareness of how kind God is to us; despite what we deserve. As a result, we extend mercy to others; despite what they deserve (v22).


To be full of peace is to be at one with God as well as with other believers. This state of agreement is essential when there’s a concerted effort to divide a church with false teaching. That’s why the fullness of love is necessary—not as a feeling but as a deliberate choice. Sincerely loving fellow believers prepares us to help those who are struggling with false beliefs or unbiblical ideology.


Too many Christians follow cultural cues, and use social media to publicly blast anything that sounds unbiblical. These replies often come across as hateful, repelling readers from Christianity rather than attracting them to it. So, is the poster intentionally propagating a lie, or have they been taught a wrong belief? Since our world is full of false teaching and teachers, the latter seems more likely.


Rather than being publicly called out for false beliefs, they need loving support from tender-hearted Christians whose faith is firmly grounded. It’s one thing to expose the teaching and the teachers, but it’s also necessary to come alongside those who have been influenced by falsehood with godly encouragement. If you have a personal relationship with Jesus, then you also have His mercy, peace, and love. Are you fully experiencing these traits so you can express them to others?