22 And have mercy on some, who are doubting; 23 save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh (Jude).
The word “doubting” means “to separate or withdraw from”—thus, referencing those who no longer attend their meetings. Those they are “snatching … out of the fire” are the ones in mortal danger of hell itself. The last are those so far gone in their sin that even their clothes have been “polluted” by touching their skin.
The Christian response to all of these is the same: “mercy” and compassion. Mercy is different from grace in that mercy emphasizes the negative, while grace the positive. Mercy is not giving what is deserved, while grace is giving what is not deserved. More specifically, mercy is not judging or condemning, while grace adds to that the giving of a blessing. God shows mercy on us by not sending us to hell for our sin, while he shows grace by adopting us into His own family.
Before we can ever give grace to someone, we must have mercy on them—no matter what vile condition they are in.
Lord, help us This Day to show mercy where it is needed. Amen.