How do we exercise our duty to warn?

This morning one of the readings at Morning Prayer was Ezekiel 33.1-20, which tells Ezekiel that he is to warn people of what God tells him to, and that if he doesn’t then on his head be it (I paraphrase).

This passage set me thinking as it can be used to justify telling all sorts of people that what they are doing is sinful – often done in an unhelpful way.  But, if we are called to tell people then don’t we have to do this?

My thinking led me to two places; not everyone is called to be a sentinel – God calls prophets and God gives them the message to be passed on.  Most prophets are unsure of their calling (eg Jeremiah) and are careful to pass on God’s word.

Secondly, the sentinel is called to give a warning; we can speak the truth and not communicate.  The words which communicated a long time ago do not necessarily communicate today.  Attacking people, insulting people, abusing people does not communicate.  If we are called to warn people then we are called to do so in ways in which they can understand.

An example, many years ago I worked in a team where we enjoyed winding each other up.  One day the main culprit was out at lunch when his wife phoned saying she had locked her key in the house, please would he come and let her in.  We gave him the message, but while we did so everyone else was smirking.  He refused to believe us and wouldn’t go home, even when we stopped messing around.

So the questions for people called to this ministry are:

  • Are you sure God has called you to this ministry?
  • Are you communicating God’s message in a way that it can be heard?

One thought on “How do we exercise our duty to warn?”

  1. I wish I had seen this before I posted!

    From Henri Nouwen’s daily email:
    Good news becomes bad news when it is announced without peace and joy. Anyone who proclaims the forgiving and healing love of Jesus with a bitter heart is a false witness.

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