We say that a lot, don’t we? Even if only to ourselves.
Ezekiel had something to say about that – well, God speaking through him, that is. I read it just now and realized it is the reason I feel the way I do about this matter. First, read this verse:
Ezekiel 33: 9 But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, that person shall die in his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.
Next, let’s consider who this verse applies to besides ourselves. Right off the bat, we know we must hold our brothers and sisters in Christ to a higher level of accountability. The unsaved do not know or believe in our ways. But is that who God is referring to when He calls this people “wicked?”
I believe God means those who are unsaved. We are to “warn” them. That means that if we see or know of someone doing something sinful, we are to tell them about Jesus, I think. Not to come down hard on them or make them angry or ashamed (although these are natural feelings that will come upon them), but to gently and lovingly reprove.
Is that going to make a wicked person happy? Or angry and frustrated? Come now – we all know why we don’t actually follow these words. We don’t want to be the bearer of “bad” news. We don’t want anyone to be angry with us. We want to be friends of all. Folks, Christ didn’t call us to do that. He didn’t call us to be judgmental and critical, but He did call us to speak truth.
Personally? I think the way to start this whole process is to SHOW, not tell. Due to a time constraint, this may not be possible, but if it is, let your actions and reactions speak volumes. This opens the door for further questions and communication. Speak. The Spirit will give you the words.
Now, what if the person doing something wicked is a believer? Does it really matter?
When you know or see something that is wrong, you are obligated to speak up. There’s no way around it. I feel personally responsible for the actions of others around me. If they’re in trouble and I did not help, I am responsible for that! If I don’t at least speak up, I am responsible for that! It’s tiring and overwhelming. Yes. But it’s part of loving others, my friends.
Does it require courage? Honor? Integrity? Of course it does. So, as I tell my boys all the time, handle your business.
Are you going to hell if you don’t confront your Christian co-worker on stealing office supplies? No. Are you going to answer for it? Yes. Are you going to hell for not telling your best friend that his wife is having an affair? No. Are you going to answer for it? Yes.
Are you going to hell for refusing to defend your spouse when others try to manipulate, hurt, offend, and cause trouble for him? No. Are you going to answer for it? Yes.
Are you going to hell for driving by a gas station and witnessing a man beating a woman and refusing to stop to help or even call the police? No. Are you going to answer for it?
You absolutely will. Courage is not the absence of fear – it is action in the very freaking midst of it. This Christian life is HARD. It is not meant to be easy and it shouldn’t be. It is a battle we fight against satan and his minions, and sometimes it requires us to do the hard thing. So fasten your seat belts and begin to see how amazingly freeing it is to follow the Word!