Thank goodness for true friends. I don’t mean friends who you rarely see and who only pay lip service to you via Facebook when they’re notified of your birthday. I mean the kind of friends who have your back no matter what, even if that means calling you out for something inappropriate or sinful. It doesn’t feel good to be exposed like that, but if we take it seriously, it’s usually a time of reflection and growth. In fact, if we’re Christians, we’re all tasked with being that kind of friend to others, even others we don’t even know.
During a lot of Old Testament times, prophets were sent to the people of Israel, God’s people, to speak on God’s behalf and warn them of their misdeeds and sin. Ezekiel was one such prophet and there is much we can learn from him that applies to us today. In Ezekiel 33:1-11, we see that Ezekiel had been given the responsibility of warning the nation of Israel of their sins, and in turn, we have the same responsibility today.
When someone has been warned of their sin or of some irresponsibility on their part, who is supposed to heed the warning? The offender right? That is exactly what Ezekiel tells the people. If someone receives a loving warning about the sin in their lives and chooses not to listen, their blood is on their hands (vs. 4-5). If I am living in sin and am openly admonished for my wrongdoing, then it becomes my sole responsibility to take note and take action. On the other hand, if those tasked to be a watchman do not do their job and do not sound the alarm, they are then responsible for the lost (vs. 6). This is an extremely scary thought because it reminds us of the very important job we have today to expose sin.
” 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light.”
Our job in doing this is not to pass judgment on others, for that is the sole responsibility of God. But we also are not to remain silent when sin and the devil are active around us. Remaining silent in effect condones sinful acts and places the responsibility for the blood of the lost on us. God does not want anyone to die in their wickedness (2 Peter 3:9). He uses us as his watchmen, deliverers of the good news of the gospel. He’s even given us a handbook so we cannot possibly confuse the message. We don’t have the liberty to change the message. It’s God’s message and we are the messengers.
As this passage in Ephesians says, we cannot laugh off or pretend that the sin going on around us is ok. It’s not ok, and we should be appalled by it to the point that we speak up, call out, and expose this sin for what it is. But we also shouldn’t just spend all of our time weeding out the sin in the world. There are plenty of praiseworthy things we can give thanks for as well.
“9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
(1 Peter 2:9)
Like Ezekiel, we are a chosen people, tasked with declaring the excellent attributes of God. Our words and our actions should turn people away from their sin and point them to the Savior. Will we win them all to Christ? Maybe not. But God gave us the job to deliver the message nonetheless.