Can You Leave Your Friend there… in danger?
Devotional Thought for our days…
20 “If a truly good person starts doing evil and I put him in a dangerous situation, he will die if you do not warn him. He will die because of his sins—I will not remember the good he did—and I will hold you responsible for his death. Ezekiel 3:20 GNT
13 The greatest love you can have for your friends is to give your life for them. John 15:13 (GNT)
993 In our meditation, the Passion of Christ comes out of its cold historical frame and stops being a pious consideration, presenting itself before our eyes, as terrible, brutal, savage, bloody… yet full of Love. And we feel that sin cannot be regarded as just a trivial error: to sin is to crucify the Son of God, to tear his hands and feet with hammer blows, and to make his heart break.
I read an article the other day, that made the argument that a pastor cannot be friends with his congregation. That he has to stay aloof, separated so that he can call them to repentance when needed, and that they will hear him when he does.
One of my questions in the conversation that followed was, “shouldn’t your friend also care enough, love you enough to call you to repentance” I had several questions about the concept, but this question is one I think we need to address today.
Should a friend help a person see the error of their way?
Or should we simply ignore the path they were on, letting them move on to perdition?
This job isn’t just a pastors. It belongs to anyone that cares about anyone else. A parent, a teacher, a co-worker, a son or daughter, a friend.
There are a couple of challenges to this.
The first is taking sin seriously enough. St Josemaria helps here, helping us realize that sin can only be reconciled at the cost of life, the life of Jesus. His brutal death, the shedding of His blood. We get that about murder, or grand theft, or adultery. I am not sure we realize that about that little white lie, or lust, or envy or gossip, And what about not treasuring the restful time we call the Sabbath when we gather with other believers and weep and laugh and rejoice together? Do we see this as sin?
The second is more akin to comfort. We are afraid to broach the subject, we are afraid our desire to care for our friend will be misunderstood as condemning them (We are trying to stop that!) We are afraid of that awkward moment when they have to look in the mirror when they have to see their sin and error.
But their salvation, is that not worth the discomfort we might experience in calling them back?
These are hard questions, and yet, evangelism is not a matter of “Law”, but one of Gospel, one of Love. One of Joy. We want people to experience this because we know the difference being forgiven makes. We know the difference being clean creates in our lives, and knowing the hope of eternal life.
Our friends need this to know about this love of God that can take a sinner and make them a friend, that revive a broken soul, that can restore to its strength. We can’t-do this because we have to, because it is a duty because it is what good Christians do. We do this because we love them, and we love the God who is merciful. For then, our thoughts aren’t about preserving our life or being comfortable. It is about knowing them.
SO that we all can have the same heart and mind – that of Jesus.
Escriva, Josemaria. Furrow (Kindle Locations 4014-4017). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.