Ezekiel 31-33; James 5

Ezekiel 33:8-9 “If I tell the wicked man that he shall surely die, and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked man from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death.  But if you warn the wicked man trying to turn him from his way, and he refuses to turn from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but you save yourself.”

Ezekiel 33:11 “…As I live says the Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, but rather in the wicked man’s conversion, that he may live.”

James 5: 19-20 “My brothers if anyone among you should stray from the truth and someone bring him back, he should know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”

We see in these Old Testament and New Testament exhortations to not only share the Good News, but our moral responsibility to try to bring our associates back to the right path if they are astray.  These passages are a sharp rebuke to the relativists who like to use “Judge not lest ye be judged” for their agenda. The challenge is to do it in love and to trust that God has a hand in that person’s life.  For example, upbraiding a fellow sinner comparing their life to Jeremiah’s rotting loincloth [Jeremiah 13: 1-12] is probably not a great loving strategy if you your aim is to influence them.

GOD’S ANSWER: The rotting loincloth – one of My better ones!  My prophets were not invited to many parties, but I had some fun with those guys.  Jonah was a continuous hoot.  And Amos, always introducing himself as a dresser of sycamores – he could never figure out why Judean speed dating never worked out for him.  But bless them they were faithful.  And to paraphrase one of my recent saints Yogi Berra, “Sanctity is 90% faithfulness, the other half is spiritual.”

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