So you, mortal, I have made a sentinel 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, “O wicked ones, you shall surely die,” and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from their ways, the wicked shall die in their iniquity, but their blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked to turn from their ways, and they do not turn from their ways, the wicked shall die in their iniquity, but you will have saved your life. Now you, mortal, say to the house of Israel, Thus you have said: “Our transgressions and our sins weigh upon us, and we waste away because of them; how then can we live?” Say to them, As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from their ways and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel? ~ Ezekiel 33:7-11
The role of a prophet is a tough one. Most of the people God called as a prophet, didn't exactly seek out the job. It takes a strong constitution and a big degree of humility.
These days, it feels as if I am constantly seeing folks in social media posts who seem to view themselves as self-appointed prophets, calling out the 'sins' of (mostly) gay and transgendered people.
I've been pretty clear on my feelings that being part of the LGBTQ community is not a sin, but even if it was, there is often something missing from those self-appointed prophets of doom.
A lack of mercy and grace.
Over and over, God's grace pours out to the Israelites - even when they let God down abundantly. And God even tells Ezekiel that God would much prefer no to have the wicked face consequences.
How often do we temper our proclamation of God's anger with God's grace? How often is judgment tempered with mercy?
And how confident are that God has called us particularly as a prophet sent to warn? Or do we need more to mind Jesus' words not to judge?
And to love our enemies?
If God you think God has called you as a prophet sent to warn folks of their sins, be ready to accept the call with humility, grace and a good dose of skepticism.
And if it was something you sought out and it makes you feel like you have the upper hand on someone else's sins, it's unlikely that the call you got was truly from God.
God grant me humility, grace, and wisdom before I start condemning those around me. Amen