“Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.” Jude 3
Sometimes what we want to say is in conflict with what we need to say. That was Jude’s situation as he started this letter. He was driven by love to write what the recipients needed to hear. Today, we call this tough love. Some things are hard to say, and are definitely hard to hear. Saying what needs to be said might even put the relationship at risk. But not saying it often puts someone we care about at greater risk.
Jude shows us the importance of having difficult conversations under the direction of the Holy Spirit. It makes us wonder how many times Jude started to write about the wonderful salvation found in Christ, only to be interrupted by the Holy Spirit with a more needful message—a warning. “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed…ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (v4).
Likewise, our sensitivity to the Holy Spirit must prevail if we truly desire the best for our family and friends. That doesn’t mean saying everything we think. Nor can we be their conscience. It means that we totally depend on the Spirit for the right words, said the right way, at the right time. In other words, we “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).
Yes, it’s easier to avoid difficult conversations, but doing so may put the very people we love at greater risk than saying what needs to be said. That’s why every believer should have at least one Jude in their life. After all, it’s a blessing to have someone care enough about you to deliver a warning regarding harmful things in your life.