“Don’t jump on the bed!” I’m yelling so that four-year-old August can hear me over the creak of the metal bedframe complaining beneath each blow. “August! Stop jumping right…”
Before I can finish the next sentence, August hurtles through the air, missing the bed, and landing hard on the tile floor. Screams rend the air.
I want to scold him for ignoring my warning. I saw this happening well before the fateful jump. But this child looks up at me from under his long, dark lashes, where full, wet tears flow uninhibited. He can’t understand I told you so. Instead, I hold him tight and rub the goose egg on his noggin.
Sometimes we can see a dangerous situation in someone else’s life.
“I hope she doesn’t marry that guy!”
“He’s spending a lot of time at home alone with his computer.”
“She thinks this scheme will make her rich.”
Naturally, our temptation is to cast a sidelong glance, take a deep breath, and wait for our chance to say I told you so when things turn sour. We are called to do the opposite. When the Holy Spirit points out that a friend is heading for trouble, the Bible tells us to warn that person.
“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.” Ezekiel 33:7 (NIV)
Warn your friend once.
“I see some red flags in your boyfriend.”
“It seems like you’re spending a lot of time alone with a computer.”
“This opportunity sounds really great. Maybe too good to be true?”
Then let it go. People will make their own decisions and do what they want to do.
If your friend ignores your warning and falls into a terrible situation, help them up and rub their noggin.
“You can stay with me for a while.”
“I’d love to be your accountability partner.”
“I’ll help you look for a job.”
We all make terrible decisions from time to time. Thankfully, the God we serve lifts people up when they fall down. Let’s do the same.