When someone you love gets into a situation that can hurt them – get involved! The Bible says, ‘On some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire’ (vv. 22-23 NKJV).
The Greek word for ‘save’ means ‘to take immediate, decisive, and continuous action’. Here the word ‘fear’ means ‘a strong dose of respect for something that’s life-threatening, dangerous, or alarming’. And the phrase ‘pulling them out of the fire’ means you don’t have a moment to waste. The house is burning down and they’re asleep. Break down the door and drag them out if you have to, but save them!
Eugene Peterson paraphrases it: ‘Go after those who take the wrong way’ (v. 22 MSG). Don’t sit back and say, ‘It’s not my responsibility’. It is! The Good Shepherd left ninety-nine sheep to go after the one that was lost – and He didn’t stop until He found it. Then He put it on His shoulders and brought it back to the safety of the fold.
Is there a chance you’ll be misunderstood, criticized, and rejected?
Sure, but as Paul says, ‘The love of Christ controls [compels; drives] us’ (2 Corinthians 5:14 NCV). When you love the people Jesus loves, you don’t have a choice! You say, ‘But I won’t know what to say!’. Then pray: ‘Lord, help me to know exactly what to say and do. Give me wisdom and boldness to say what needs to be said. Help me to love them enough to tell them the truth while there’s still time. Use me as an instrument of Your grace to reach them before it’s too late. In Jesus’ name, amen.’
‘Others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire.’ Jude 1:23 NKJV