continued from Part 2: correction and rejection
~ still learning ~
And so I have continued to ask over the course of time, “Why, Lord?” Not because I feel mistreated or want to avoid an unpleasant task. But really just because it seemed to me that if I shared God’s truth properly, it should be a light to lead others to Him, and not a force that drives them away. Really just because I don’t like to think that my efforts to faithfully share God’s word might be doing no good and only harm.
But the Lord continues to teach me and show me. And the truth is, God’s word is always doing the good work of His eternal kingdom, though it may not be in the way I first thought.
I found this lesson very clearly defined in the book of Ezekiel, a man who was specifically sent by God to prophesy to a people that God told him would be rebellious. He was to prophesy whether they listened or not, and he was even warned that they would not listen because they were rebellious. At best, God told Ezekiel that his words would be like entertainment to people who were polite but uncaring (Ezekiel 33:32). Mostly, the people would be set as hard as stone against him, but God promised to make Ezekiel harder still (Ezekiel 3:7-9). Regardless, Ezekiel must speak.
The truth is, there really is only one right choice. If I don’t speak, I have abandoned someone to their sin, and will destroy my own soul in the process.
“When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand…”Ezekiel 3:18 KJV
But if I do speak, I have acted according to the only hope in the face of sin, and delivered my own soul by faithful obedience to the Lord I serve.
“…Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.”Ezekiel 3:19 KJV
And in case I missed it the first time, I found that God reminded me of the exact same truth only a few chapters later!
When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.Ezekiel 33:8-9, KJV
Of course, I’m no prophet like Ezekiel was. But this principle is not only found in Ezekiel. The command to love one another by correcting sin is consistent under the law…
Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.(Leviticus 19:17, KJV)
…and under grace.
If your brother sins against you, go and confront him privately. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.(Matthew 18:15, BSB)
And so now I know that it truly is God’s will that I should speak. It is in the hope of delivering others; but even if others are not delivered, it is in obedience for the deliverance of my own soul.
And so then I remembered that as much as it was God’s will for me to speak, it was equally God’s will if I faced rejection.
by Sydney Michalski