Have you ever seen someone walking down the path to destruction? Did you desire to warn them, but weren’t quite sure what to say? Were you afraid if you did say something you might hurt your relationship with them? Well, recently I was in just such a predicament and I made the difficult choice to warn that person of the impending harm that may come to her if she continued down the path she was walking. After much pray, I decided that it was better to try to help her and possibly lose her friendship, then it was to watch her destroy her life and feel as if I might have played a part through my silence. James 5:19-20 encourages us with this:
My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
God’s Word encourages us to be the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13) and a light to those walking in darkness (Matthew 5:14-16). This is who we are in Christ. And many times God will call us to do that which is difficult to do. There will be times He will call us to sprinkle salt in the wounds of a person’s heart as a means to help heal the brokenhearted. And there will be times that He will call us to speak out to help light the way, God’s way, in the midst of a dark world.
However, there will be those who do not heed the warning. There will be times when we will lose a friendship when all we were really trying to do was offer God’s love. Well, as you can imagine the person decided not to heed the warning and it has affected our friendship. Yet God, in His wonderful compassion spoke to my grieving heart through a passage I ran across during my morning devotions.
“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning for me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man to turn from his ways and he does not do so, he will die for his sin, but you will have saved yourself” (Ezekiel 33:7-9, emphasis added).
I like what Pastor Chuck Smith has to say about this passage. “And so God said to Ezekiel, ‘Now look, you’re like a watchman, Ezekiel. Your responsibility is to give the people My word. That’s all. What they do with it after that is their responsibility.”[i]
God called Ezekiel to warn the people to turn from their sin and at times He calls us to do the same. The important thing to remember in this calling is to pray and seek God for words of wisdom and to ask Him to give you His compassion as you share His truth. What that person does with the truth is their business, but at least you were obedient to what God called you to do. And as such, there will be some who will turn from their wicked ways because of your obedience.
Unfortunately, many times as Christians, we start to think that our light is shining a bit too brightly and we want to dim it a little bit to fit in and not makes waves. But God calls us to shine bright and not to hide our light under a basket.
I know that I was obedient to do that which God called me to do. It was something that was not entered into lightly, yet it grieved my heart to lose that friendship. That’s why the passage in Ezekiel, read during my morning devotions, so ministered to my grieving heart. I want to hear “Well done good and faithful servant” on the day I stand before the Lord. I don’t want to be held accountable for that which God was calling me to do and I didn’t do. That’s why the passage in Ezekiel so ministered to me. It was as if God was already saying, “Well done good and faithful servant. You did what I called you to do.”
Has there been a time when God was calling you to be the salt of the earth and a light in the dark world? Did you share a difficult truth, worried that you might lose that friendship? Did they turn from their evil way? Or was your heart grieving as mine was? How did God minister to you? Looking forward to your comments so that we can encourage one another together as we become all that He created us to be. God bless.
[i] Smith, Chuck. “Ezekiel 31-35.” The Word for Today. Blue Letter Bible. 1 Jun 2005. 2011. 9 Oct 2011. <http:// www.blueletterbible.org/commentaries/comm_view.cfm? AuthorID=1&contentID=6872&commInfo=25&topic=Ezekiel& ar=Eze_33_7 >