followandreblog asked: I’ve always believed that the Gospel is an invitation to life, and shouldn’t be shoved down people’s throats, and that God is big enough to touch the hearts of rebellious people. But as I read Ezekiel 3:16-21, God made Ezekiel responsible of people’s deaths, if he fails to deliver the warning of death. Is it the same for us? I know that God’s grace invites us to the table, but sometimes it looks more like a warning of death. Is this just a perspective thing? [edited for length]
Unka Glen answered: It is a perspective thing, and you’re showing your wisdom by making that assumption. This is of course no surprise, as my followers are the smartest and best looking people on the interwebs. So let’s look at this thing.
Imagine a friend of yours has wandered onto a set of train tracks, and you can see behind her that a train is coming at full speed down the track. Well, the only right response is yell at the top of your lungs for her to get her narrow butt off the tracks…NOW!
Now imagine a friend of yours has decided to start smoking, and is holding a lit cigarette in her hand. In that case, it would make sense to say something like, “I know how much you’re looking forward to surrendering a big portion of your money to another giant aching need that you want to create for yourself, as you coat your lungs with soot, turn your teeth a yellowish brown, fry your taste buds, and make your breath smell like an old ashtray, but maybe this isn’t the best choice for you.”
Now imagine using the opposite approach for each situation. You could explain the many ways in which being hit by a moving train would damage one’s physical health, but before you got to the end of your speech, the results would already be happening. Likewise, if I go to someone starting a smoking habit, and I start yelling about cancer at the top of my lungs, people will reject my message because they know I could have been cool and smart about it, but instead I’m purposely freaking out and trying to have my way.
Christians have a way of saying to themselves: if I’m right in what I’m saying, it doesn’t matter how I say it. NOT TRUE. I can say something that’s true, but say it in a way that points to an untruth. I can say “Accept Jesus now, if you don’t want to go to Hell!”, and those words may be true in a certain theological sense, but by saying it that way, I’d be making it sound like God doesn’t want to save you, and that is a HUGE lie.
Context matters. When communicating the Gospel we need to know what people are going through, and how desperate the situation is. In Ezekiel’s case, his warning was something they really needed to hear, loud and clear, right now. In your case, it’ll be very rare to find yourself in an “emergency” witnessing situation.