Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
I’ve heard this plenty of times. Maybe you have also. “Don’t hate on people. You can’t say they are wrong. Maybe they’re right in their own way.” No, we don’t criticize people unfairly. And we don’t hold everyone to the same standard. I know that quite well. When I was a teacher at a small private school with a middle school basketball team, believe me, the Eagles were hands down my favorite team. Did they win games? Sometimes. They would never have scored against a college team, even a very bad college team. It didn’t matter.
Is it hatred or unfair criticism to say that something isn’t up to grade? Not at all. We need to be honest about it. But we need to be aware of the appropriate scale. The drawing that my granddaughter made for me is super. But it isn’t super to many other people. And that’s fine.
What does this have to do with Ezekiel? In Ezekiel 33 the prophet is called to be a watchman for Israel. He is to confront people with sin. And he is to use the same judgment which God uses in identifying sin. We don’t have to be around too long before we figure out that God is very serious about matters of sin and salvation. He calls us to repent even if we thought we were doing just fine. In fact, he calls us to repent of our idea that we are doing fine. It isn’t hating on us. It isn’t unfair in any way. It’s God’s loving way of confronting our wrong, calling us to awareness, and offering us forgiveness. That’s exactly what we need.
Ezekiel is to make the sin of Israel obvious to them. If he doesn’t do that, he is held accountable. He has allowed the people to continue in their wrongdoing without warning them. It is an act of love for him to confront them. If Ezekiel is faithful to his calling, even if nobody responds in repentance and faith, Ezekiel can have a clear conscience. He has been God’s messenger and offered salvation.
Christians fail in their mission when they denies God’s requirement of holiness. We fail in our mission when we say that God doesn’t mind our sin. We fail in our mission when we accept what the Lord never accepts. If we do this, we have no confidence ourselves. But if we are faithful to proclaim God’s displeasure with sin and his desire to give forgiveness, we can have confidence. He is indeed the Lord who forgives our sin as well.
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