April 24

“Son of man, I have made you 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, You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul. Again, if a righteous person turns from his righteousness and commits injustice, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die. Because you have not warned him, he shall die for his sin, and his righteous deeds that he has done shall not be remembered, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the righteous person not to sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning, and you will have delivered your soul.” (Ezekiel 3:16-21)

The other night I watched a pretty bad, provocative film titled “The Dinner” (which I do not recommend) with some folks. It’s not well done, the language is wretched, and God’s name, in particular, is abused. I considered saying something then but chose to wait. Last evening, we discussed the film. I shared my feelings about God’s name being used so horribly and was told: “that’s the culture of the day.” I knew we would agree about the third Commandment, not to take God’s name in vain, but was surprised that “culture” was used as justification for it.

Then we discussed the big conflict that was driving the film, involving teenagers who committed “unintentional murder.” The question was, “Should they turn themselves in (or be turned in by one of the parents) and be sent to prison?” This would undoubtedly lead to abuse and their wreckage for life, according to others who saw the movie. The film presents other options, the primary one being hiding the crime, since it was committed against a homeless person in a public place. I quoted some of the Proverbs verses I have been using in my devotions lately (Proverbs 9:7-8; 15:31-32; 19:25; 21:11) and thought of the Ezekiel verse above. I argued biblically, that the only right thing to do was to turn them over to the police for their punishment and for the warning it would give to other would-be pranksters. But I have a new appreciation for the harsh life in prison for the convicted and the challenging work of judges who know how bad life will be for those who are convicted. (At least one person in our group of film watchers is a judge.)

God’s Word is our lifeline and our salvation; it is meant for our good. Our words reveal our hearts, intentions, desires, beliefs, opinions, judgments, loves, dislikes, fears, hopes, idols, weaknesses, joys, hurts, wisdom, foolishness, and our sins. Our words are powerful and influential in the lives of others, and I pray that this is the case for our conversation last night. God uses words to reveal Himself and His purposes; to redirect and rebuke His people; to free people from enslavement to sin, giving them to Christ; and to encourage, assure, and comfort us. While we can never imitate God precisely, because of our sin nature, we should seek to reflect His character, with His help, to the best of our abilities. I tried.

How will your words today reflect God’s Word?

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