A Bright Future
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,
says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Assertiveness training often includes guidelines for approaching conflict. Instead of being reactive, we are taught to calmly articulate our viewpoint while showing respect to the other person, even if they are behaving badly.
In his letter to believers, Jude offers similar insights into how to respond to harmful influences, but offers a far more profound foundation. Responding to false teachers (Jude 1:4), Jude did not hold back when it came to describing their behaviour. He described them as people who lied (v 10) and selfishly manipulated others (v 16), concluding they were not living from the Spirit (v 19).
But after exposing the false teachers’ dangerous character, Jude did not suggest the believers respond by aggressively fighting against them. He suggested, instead, that they focus on their own spiritual growth. Instead of being reactive or returning evil for evil, as they grew deep roots in God’s love (v 20–21), they could more naturally rely on the Spirit’s leading for how to best respond (v 22–23). But in every situation, they could remain unshaken, anchored in the rock-solid truth of God’s love, power, and beautiful future for them (v 24).
Father God, I do not know what the future holds for me, but I know that I am always under Your watchful eye. Amen.