The Father’s Tenderness: Change of Focus
“Go easy on those who hesitate in the faith. Go after those who take the wrong way. Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin. The sin itself stinks to high heaven.”
Jude 1:22, 23 MSG
Notice how we are exhorted to:
“Be tender”…with people.
Those who are reluctant or having doubts in their faith…go easy on them. Come alongside them, walk with them, living out your faith in the Ever-Faithful God! They will eventually desire to do the same.
Those who are on the wrong path…go after them. If a friend is lost and wandering…send out a rescue team to find them. Post a Missing Person report. Go on the initiative to find them, just like Jesus did with the one sheep that was lost.
Ninety-nine out of one-hundred were safe in the fold. (That’s pretty good odds! But not for Jesus!) He goes after the one who needs Him most! Finds him and brings him back to safety. We are to follow His example.
And for those who are sinning, be tender with them. What? Tender on sin? No. Tender with the person that is sinning, but not with the actual sin itself.
Let’s remind ourselves of what sin is…”any reprehensible or regrettable action, behavior, lapse; great fault or offense.” The sin is what needs to be dealt with. And Jesus already paid for the sin debt on the cross. Past, present and future sin! Hallelujah!
The one doing the sinning needs to know that they can be forgiven by God and by you! They can be set free in Jesus and go and sin no more!
How would they learn this marvelous truth if you were not tender with them? If you did not love what God loves? The sinner. And hate what God hates? The actual sin.
Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrated His love for us in this, while we were yet sinners, He died for us.”
Talk about God’s tenderness! Talk about God’s mercy! We are to pass along His tenderness which leads the sinner to repentance! That means he wants to turn around and go the exact opposite way he had been going! He desires to leave the sin life and embrace the tender forgiveness of Jesus. In Jeremiah, we are reminded that “He draws us with His loving kindness.” Always!
But the sin, itself? Well, that stinks! Stinks the one up doing the sinning. Stinks the atmosphere up around the person sinning. Pukes that horrific odor over onto others close-by the person sinning. The sin stinks to high heaven.
We are not to condone the sin, or we’ll start stinking too. No, our focus is to be like the Savior’s…tender with sinners but not soft on sin.
After all, we, too, have received God’s tenderness…His undeserved favor, called grace! How can we not extend it to others?