Ezekiel 33:8

When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. (Ezekiel 33:8, NIV)

Yikes.

This is not a verse I’ve ever seen framed for display or posted on a greeting card in pretty cursive lettering.

Every time I read this, I hear myself ask, Does this really mean I have to speak out against other peoples’ sin?

Yikes.

I am NOT a confrontational person.  I am a comfortational person.  Comfortable is everyone happy.  Comfortable is nobody saying nasty remarks to me because they are mad at me.  I love to live in comfort.

But then . . . I have to ask myself . . . am I willing to let someone go to Hell because that is more comfortable to me?

Yet I am scarcely able to express a different opinion when I’m around other people.  I still struggle to be strong enough to speak for what I know is right in a conversation.  My default is to go to what I think the other person wants to hear.  As Christ has gotten ahold of my life, I have gotten stronger, but I am still pretty feeble.

Nevertheless, Christ has brought me—carried me, really–through phases of boldness.  First, I wrote anonymously.  Then, I actually posted my writing.  After that, Christ gave me the bravery to claim my writing.  Then, He has been teaching me how to accept that not everyone will like my writing.

But as I read Ezekiel 33:8, I know I haven’t arrived at anywhere close to my final phase.  I know Christ is moving me towards having conversations with my friends about my faith in Christ.  Even at the checkout counter at the grocery store or at a gas station or a restaurant, Christ has begun over the last few years to move me to speak in such a way as to lead people to Him.

But I have so, so far to go.  And I know I cannot get there on my one.  Me?  I’m not bold.  I’m about as chicken as you can get.  I have trouble even making eye contact with people when I’m nervous.  So how in the world can I ever get to the point to help others see that Satan is taking them by the hand on a path straight for Hell?

There’s only one way I can get that kind of boldness.  I must appeal to Christ.  I don’t want the wicked to die without knowing they are going to Hell, because I was one of the wicked and I know how easy it is to walk into the mouth of Hell without so much as a sniff of smoke.  And I still would be one of the wicked, if it wasn’t for the blood of Jesus.

I was blessed enough to have many opportunities in my life to come to Christ.  Leading up to my commitment, someone had encouraged me to read His Word and try church again.

There are millions of people around the world who have never been given these invitations by a friend.  These people are in desperate need for someone, someone to bring them the news of Christ.  And before they can understand the news of Christ, they have to know they need to be saved.  And before they can know they need to be saved, they must understand that we are all wicked and headed for Hell.

Being the bearer of bad news and then Good News isn’t a job I signed up for when I was born into this world.  But it is a job I signed up for when I was born again into the Kingdom of Christ.

And he [Jesus] said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. (Mark 16:15, ESV)

Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.  (1 Corinthians 9:12, NIV)

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