Friday, April 22, 2005

Are You Guilty . . . of Passive Murder?

Eze 3:17 Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.

Eze 3:18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.

Eze 3:19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.

Eze 3:20 Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.

Eze 3:21 Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.


Passive Murder – Are you guilty?

Consider the following hypothetical scenario:

A lifeguard with 25 years of training sits on his post at a local swimming pool. He is hot, sweaty and uncomfortable in the summer sun, and finally decides to get a cold lemonade from a nearby vendor’s stand. During his break, he purchases a large glass of cold lemonade and returns to his post. Soon after, he spots a young boy screaming and struggling in the water. He knows the boy is drowning, but decides that he will not save him because he has not had an opportunity to finish drinking his lemonade. With his mind made up, he takes a complete 13 minutes to drink the lemonade, and an additional 2 minutes to chew on the remnants of ice and lemon at the bottom of the glass. Needless to say, the little boy dies.

In court, the lifeguard cannot argue that he did not know how to save the boy. With 25 years as a lifeguard, it was his responsibility to act on the boy’s behalf. Fear is not a possible defense either, as he assumed the responsibility to save life by becoming and remaining a lifeguard for over 20 years. In essence, the lifeguard has no defense. He is responsible for the life of the boy that drowned. He should be punished. Some may say he deserves life in prison. Some would even favor the death penalty in this situation.

I heard a similar scenario during an episode of “The Way of the Master ( In that evangelism training series, the scenario centered around a fire fighter who allowed a family to die in a fire so that he could sit in the truck and listen to a new CD player. In both stories, the issue is the same. Both individuals had responsibility for a life, and neglected that responsibility. Both individuals were NEGLIGENT, resulting in death. Both individuals are GUILTY and responsible for the deaths of others, because they failed to save lives for which they were accountable.

In many ways, these scenarios introduce a philosophical argument of “passive murder.” If a person “allows” someone to die when they are fully capable of saving them and have the RESPONSIBILITY to do so, they are essentially guilty of murder. I wonder how many Christians are guilty of murder...

As believers, we know that Satan cannot do anything God does not allow him to do. Well, just as God will not force a man to follow him, the enemy also lacks the power to force loyalty out of a man or woman. Essentially, Satan can tempt us into spiritual death, but he cannot kill us without our consent. This means that Christians are responsible for the eternal damnation of sinners – not the devil!

My God! What a responsibility. Men and women of God, we are just like the fireman and the lifeguard. We know how to present the Gospel of life to those who are dying in their sin. If we neglect to do so, we are guilty of their outcomes. Just think of how many souls we have allowed to drown or burn.

The Word of God is very clear – we must preach the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15). If we fail, God will count of guilty of their transgressions. Nevertheless, when we share the Gospel, it is counted unto us as a reward when an individual gives their life to Christ. Should they reject Him, we are guiltless as long as we have warned them, according to the Word of God.

People of God, let’s search ourselves. Why are we really in ministry? Is it to make a name for ourselves? Is it “get rich quick scheme?” Do we carry titles just to make ourselves feel good? I challenge us all today to search ourselves and our hearts. How many souls have you brought to Christ? How often do you proclaim the Gospel to those who are lost? When you witness to others, do you preach your church and ministry, or are you presenting Jesus? How many souls printed on your spiritual record? Do the losses outweigh the victories?

Praise God! God has laid it on my heart to share the Gospel with at least 3 people per day, whether they are in church or not. Before anyone knows my name or my ministry, they need to know Jesus. AMEN.

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