Read: Ezekiel 33:1-33
But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.’ Ezekiel 33:6
This is a difficult passage of scripture – on so many levels. First, it scares the heck out of me because I think about the multitude of times that I’ve had opportunity to “warn” someone – to speak truth into their situation – and I’ve walked away. Ouch big time.
Second, when you take an opportunity to warn someone you open yourself up to all kinds of crud. In our ultra-tolerant society you will be called a hate-monger. In our over-sexualized culture you will be called a prude. In our anything goes world you will be called a hypocritical, judgmental jerk. And a big fat meanie, to boot.
I hate being called names and I hate it when people think things about me that just aren’t true. Unfortunately, so many people have been hurt by being “warned” in the name of Christianity. It’s been done in ways that are hateful and not only has it kept people from finding freedom in Christ, it’s marred the name of the Church – the bride of Christ.
So how do we warn someone in a way that brings people closer to Jesus? I love how God, Himself, says it in verse 10 and 11:
“Son of man, say to the Israelites, ‘This is what you are saying: “Our offenses and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away because of them. How then can we live?”’ Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’”
God doesn’t say, “You people are idiots and should get what you deserve, but I guess if you stop doing (fill in the blank) I’ll keep you out of Hell.” No – we can hear the passion in His voice – “I don’t want you to die! I want you to live!” It’s the same thing He said to us when we first heard His invitation to a new life.
One of the things we see in verse 10 is that the people are asking for help – their sins are weighing them down, they’re sick and tired of it – and they’re asking, “How then can we live?” The best time, the most opportune moment to “warn” someone is when they are asking for help. We can then lovingly tell them that they have a Father in Heaven who doesn’t want them to die – He’s inviting them to live, really live.
Is there anyone in your life who is ready to hear the good news?
Heavenly Father, please give me the courage to speak your good news to the people around me who are asking for help. Please give me the words to say. My life is in your hands. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen