Duty to Warn
(The Word of the Lord said) "So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from My mouth, you shall give them warning from Me. If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 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."
Last year my son was working with a crew of friends to build an outdoor stairway at a local bird sanctuary. It was an Eagle Scout project, and involved a lot of digging. We couldn't finish everything the first day, so we wrapped the whole area in yellow caution tape. We wanted to make sure that nobody tried to climb the half-finished stairway and ended up with a broken leg.
Some people probably thought it was overkill. After all, people should know better than to walk on half-finished work, right? And the holes in the ground were so obvious. Why should we have to spend money on flags and tape when any idiot could see the danger? Wouldn't it be their own fault if they fell in?
Well, yes, it would. But common decency means we have to do the best we can to protect people—even the ones who aren't using their common sense. And there are children, and people with bad eyesight. We knew the dangers. We had a duty to warn people.
Are you a parent, a teacher, a pastor, or leader of some sort? You, too, have a duty to warn. If the people under your care get involved in some kind of evil that leads to destruction, you cannot walk away and pretend you didn't notice. You have to try to fish them out of the danger they are in.
This is tough for a lot of us. Some of us really enjoy laying down the law, and do it in a self-righteous or ham-handed way that causes unnecessary pain and shame for the people involved. Others of us are just the opposite—we shrink away from getting involved, and we hope that somebody else will handle it. How can we get this right?
One of the earliest Christians, James, tells us, "My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins" (James 5:19-20). We can only do this right if we are acting under the control and guidance of the Holy Spirit—if we truly love the person we are trying to reach, and we show that love through everything we do and say in the situation. If God's love is acting through us, that will stop us from either ignoring the dangerous situation or doing things that will make it worse.
Want an example? Look to Jesus our Savior. When we were in danger of death and hell, He warned us—and He did more than just warn us. He loved us so much that He came down into our mess as a human being to rescue us. He laid down His life for us in His death on the cross, destroying the power sin had over us. And He conquered death for us by rising to life again and sharing that life with everyone who trusts in Him. This is how much He loves us.
Lord, thank You for warning and saving us. Amen.
Dr. Kari Vo
1. What warnings about danger do you see in your everyday life?Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
2. Has anybody ever warned you about a spiritual danger?
3. Is it easy or difficult for you to warn people you love about spiritual dangers? How can you find help for this?
What warnings about danger do you see in your everyday life?