"If I announce that an evil person is going to die but you do not warn him to change his ways so that he can save his life, he will die, still a sinner, and I will hold you responsible for his death."
- Ezequiel 3:18
God had said that to Ezequiel after assigning him as His watchmen and, I believe, that those same words fall on every single one of us that belong to Him; to be His watchmen.
To warn the sinners (everyone) of their sins and pending doom yet, I fail at that. Many of us do, actually.
We fail to share Jesus to the world as Jesus expects us to, keeping with us this beautiful truth that is The Gospel all to ourselves, fully aware that others also need it as bad as we do.
By not sharing Jesus with our close ones and yet knowing that he is the only way that they can enjoy eternal life with us, with God, is the same as silently leading people to their eternal deaths.
I have been scared of sharing Jesus with many of my close ones because I have believed, deep down, that Jesus was a name that brought both peace and war, and I didn't want to risk losing my friends, and family by talking a lot about Jesus, His gift of eternal life and His sacrifice.
I didn't want to be shunned away by the people I love a lot - the most, even - by talking of the Person I should love the most.
But I must not forget that I must love God more than anything (verse here) and that in loving God more than anything, I will love others as it should be and, if I love others as it should be, I will want them to know that the path they are going down is the wrong one and there is still time for them to turn around, leave the masses, and go down the right path, go to God.
By not talking about Jesus, His life, death and resurrection, and the meaning of all that to us, we are silently letting our loved ones live a life that leads to eternal death. We are letting the devil get his ways and take more souls from God's Kingdom.
It's the same as knowing the way to eternal life but not sharing it with others, and we do.
We are being accomplices to murder - to permanent murder, to top it off - when we have everything to be accomplices to eternal life.
As for me, I have always had this tucked in, or maybe not, fear of being judged and shun out by the people close to me if I open up my mouth to speak about Jesus. As I said before, Jesus' name is powerful and can bring both peace and war (Ephesians 2:14), (Matthew 10:34-39).
When we stand strong with Jesus, make a strong alliance with Him, there are two outcomes that I have witnessed in my life that come from it: There will be people who agree with the message He provides and there will be those who don't. And, when those who don't are part of your family, friends, community, etc, it really strikes the heart heavily.
I know that things would have been a whole lot easier if everyone in my family loved Jesus to the bone and were ready to fight for Him.
It would make preaching about Him easier, confronting each other about our sins easier and even helping each other on focusing on God easier BUT, it isn't like that.
Not everyone in my family appears to be wanting to live for Christ and, at least for me, it gets really hard to talk about Jesus but, then I have to ask myself, every day if necessary:
Who do I want to please?
It sounds like a simple question that requires a simple answer but, no, I feel like I need to truly dig in, cut through my flesh and evil desires and see my true intentions for what they are.
Who do I want to please?
Is it God, who is perfect in every way and loving beyond what my little mind can understand, or mere humans, who are like me (sinners)?
Normally, I would tell myself, "God, of course", and yet it doesn't look like it. after all, if I was truly looking forwards to pleasing God above everything and everyone else, myself included, I would never be stopped by the thought of being afraid of what people will think, say or do if I did talk of Him, if I did do the things He requires of me.
I wouldn't be wary of the judgement of the world because I would be fully trusting in God's perfect judgement but, I am not.
No, I find myself questioning this urge I have to preach about God whenever I am trying to make friends, or am with friends and family because I feel like I will just drop a heavy and unwanted topic that will get me disqualified from the group.
So, I shut up and talk about the things that they are talking about, find topics that are more likely to spark about a good ambient full of relatable experiences and will allow me to stay close to them.
I have done that far too many times, people-pleasing, and I hate it. At the moment, it might sting a bit but then I shrug it off, forgetting that when I am alone and before God, I get the full scope of what I did. God shows me the full picture that I failed to see or covered up.
I just hate it.
I get to a place similar to the one of Apostle Paul when he said "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." (Romans 7:15).
It has been years, I believe, since God showed me that I had this awful sin of wanting to please people more than Him, and He helps me get over it. I know He has been helping me and even though I know that it is not as deep as it was back then, it is still there and it's putting me off.
It's like I can stay weeks focusing on staying close to God, singing worship songs for Him and claiming that I want to stay closer to Him and preach about Him more, only to then, on some bloody day, to have myself fall back to trying to please people, and it hurts.
God has helped me make a lot of progress in my faith and journey in and with Him, and yet, this stupid sin keeps coming back and not because God failed to keep it away but, because I failed to do so.
But, I say it again as I have said it before: NO MORE!
People-pleasing is so freaking toxic and detrimental to everyone.
It ruins all of our lives when we focus on pleasing people instead of God.
When we let our dark and evil desires to please people, we are opening doors for more sinful things to come by and we pushing ourselves from God. We are removing our focus from God and fixating it on humans.
And, when we divert our focus from God to anything else, we are sinning.
When we want to please people, we want to do as they desire and we tens to speak or do things that will make them happy, or less unhappy, and yet, we fail to understand that we will never, EVER, please everyone.
It's impossible, just as much as it is impossible to serve two masters. We either live to please God or please the world (men).
We can't do both and I know for sure that I don't want to be at war with Christ.
I want to live for Him, with every breath I take, and bear hurtful things for Him, if the situation calls for it. I want to focus entirely on Him, not on me or anyone else, and that includes doing as He asks me to do which, includes making disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20).
That said, we should not let our fear of pleasing-people, being in good terms with them, shut us up from telling the harsh and much-needed truth that we are all sinners and we need Christ to break us free from our eternal death sentences.
We shouldn't let anything divert our focus from God and the purpose He has for our lives, even if we must be hated by everyone else, and we will be hated.
Christ said it Himself:
"If the world hates you, just remember that it has hated me first. If you belonged to the world, then the world would love you as its own. But I chose you from this world, and you do not belong to it; that is why the world hates you."
- John 15:18-19
As Christians, people of God, the world will hate us for sure but, we must not let that stop us from preaching the Good News.
We must still go out there, wherever God wants us to, and tell sinners that they need Him to cancel out their default eternal death sentences and bring them to eternal life, knowing fully well that we will face difficulties, judgement, hatred, persecution and, possibly, death.
Yeah, the death part kinda gives me chills sometimes, when I truly think of it, but, I must not forget that it is possible in this journey of mine.
Yes, we will definitely meet people that will persecute us so badly it will sting to the core yet, we must still preach the Good News, do our part in God's plan.
Even if we know that our families might become hostile when we mention Christ, we must pray to the Lord, ask Him for patience and strength, and go out there and talk about Him to them.
Yes, they might mock us ( I know I have been), hush us up or straight up ignore us but, we must still do it and remember why we are doing it.
We are not just to do it because we don't want their blood in our hands when the day comes but, because we have experienced first-hand how it is to have God as someone close to us. We know how it feels to cry to God and know that no matter what happens, He is working for our good (Romans 8:28) and everything will definitely be okay.
This will be okay, too.
I passionately claim to love my family and friends beyond understanding yet, I do not talk to them about Jesus as much as I am ought to.
How can I say that I love them so much if I don't talk to them about Love Himself and share with them the most valuable part of my life?
How can I say that I love them profoundly if I am allowing, actively even, for them to keep on living life as they are, opposed to what God requests of us, and letting them walk on the wrong path?
What kind of love is that that allows me to watch them die, forever, when I have the secret of life with me?
I don't think that's truly loving them or God.
God has given us everything we need, absolutely everything we need, to preach about Him to everyone, to the best of our abilities, and when we don't do it, when we cower away from it because we are afraid of men - the same men that He created and can never kill us for sure (Matthew 10:28) - we are spitting on His face (disrespecting Him) and pulling ourselves away from Him.
We are forgetting His promises and His sovereignty when we fear men, forgetting that He is in full control of everything and absolutely nothing happens without Him allowing it first.
People will hate us, that's for sure, and we will be persecuted for following Christ - there's no doubt in that but, we should never forget to Whom we belong and Who has got our backs and Who we are living for.
We must not forget Christ and what He means to all of us, whoa re sinners by default.
You and I have been given the beautiful gift that is Christ and, although we might fail to fully enjoy Him, we know (or are ought to know) that there's nothing greater, sweeter and more satisfying than Christ and, we are waiting for Him to come back and take us to live with Him forever.
I have tried to imagine what it would be and feel like to live with God forever and I know that I always fail to fully imagine it because it is far too great and heavenly for my mind to fully picture it.
Just having Him be with me on earth and help me through everything sometimes feels overwhelming so, spending time with Him in Heaven must definitely be something else and we are being selfish by not sharing the gift that it is Christ with everyone.
We cannot force people to follow Jesus but, we can definitely encourage them to do so.
We are to talk about Christ and His greatness, to share Him passionately but, we are not responsible if people decide to throw that away.
God knows how to deal with them just as much as He knows how to deal with us when we don't do our part.
He also knows that it can be scary to preach about Him, especially if you are not used to it, and that's why He has provided us with everything we need to do so.
I know it can be scary to talk about Christ, sometimes, but, we must do it for someone out there, anywhere, is needing you to come out and mention His name.
There's always someone you can help, someone you can bring to God and watch Him transform their lives, and although it may not be easy, it is worth it.
And if you are not sure how even get started with it, here are some of the things I want to apply into my own journey with God to help me share Him more to my family and friends, and then, everyone else:
When it comes to preaching more about God, we don't need to gather a whole country or the whole neighbourhood to listen to us.
We can just start with one person and build up from there.
Start small, build your confidence and assurance in Christ as we go, and let things flow as God wants them to flow.
There's no need to rush. We can start with one of our loved ones and then when the time calls for it, move on to the other one.
You don't need to gather the whole family, at the beginning.
Start with one and build up from there.
Meditate on God's Word
I am specifically speaking of His promises and His warnings, although every single one of His words does serve.
Whenever we feel like we have to preach Jesus to a crowd that might give us some terrible feedback, it would be so refreshing and calming to always remember the promises and warnings that God has given us:
The world hates us because we belong to Christ (Matthew 15:19);
There will come a time when anyone who kills us will think that by doing that they will be serving God (John 16:2)
To not do the things of this world but have our minds transformed by God so that we may be able to test and approve what God's will is and please Him (Romans 12:2);
In this world, we will definitely have troubles but, we should still be brave for Christ has defeated the world (John 16:33).
The world and its desires pass away but, whoever does the will of God lives forever (1 John 2:17).
We are to be strong and confident, never discouraged, for God is with us everywhere (Joshua 1:9).
There are far more promises and warnings to help us do what pleases God, to helps us live for Him and only Him, and we should meditate on those every day. Even if we stick with one for a long time, let it be stuck in our heart and minds and may it encourage us to face the world with courage.
So, go out there, be brave and strong, knowing that the same God who has commissioned you to spread the Good News is the same God that gives you the faith, the strength, the courage, the words and every other tool you need to succeed at it.
Don't let your family members, friends and loved ones keep on walking on the path to eternal death but, tell them about Christ and what He did, what He means to all of us.
Share Christ with them, no matter the consequences.
A note before you leave
Although I have mentioned a lot that people-pleasing goes against God, it is vital to know that there is a kind of people-pleasing that satisfies God and it is the kind that is entirely not focused on us, but on Him.
See this passage from 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1:
"Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ."
Here, we see that the Apostle Paul pleases others bur not for his selfish gains, not because he wants people to praise him but, for their own good, so that they may be saved. He does things so that they may see God's glory and be saved.
Desiring God has a whole article on the people-pleasing that pleases God and how it is so different from the one our hearts tend to yearn for and we practice out.
I truly encourage you to read the article for, it is really important to know that there's more to it than what I have written. You can definitely please God by pleasing others but, be aware of which people-pleasing you are actually focused on.
Who are you trying to please?
God or the world?