(By Tammy Vaughn)
I was attending a picnic earlier this summer. I was walking along a path and a friend was following behind me. We were carrying our stuff to a picnic table. Our hands were full and the load was heavy. She was walking in front of me and I was following behind her. She saw a huge hole in the ground and brought it to my attention. She was alerting me so that I could change where I was walking since I was heading into a place of danger. I quickly changed direction; I listened to her and moved away from the hole and walked on solid ground. Had she not alerted me to the hole, I would have walked right into it. If I had fallen into this hole, I could have hurt myself severely. I could have fallen down, twisted my ankle, wrecked my knee or gotten other injuries, not to mention the embarrassment I was spared. I was grateful she told me and even more grateful that I listened.
I thought to myself, this is how Christian friendship and accountability should be. It’s like Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, “Two People are better than one. They can help each other in everything they do. Suppose someone falls down. Then his friend can help him up. But suppose the man who falls down doesn’t have anyone to help him up. Then feel sorry for him!” (NIRV)
It is helpful as Christians when we are able to see things that could be pitfalls in the lives of our Christian friends. Before I move on, I am not saying we should go around and alert everybody of potential pitfalls. I am talking about when you have earned the right to speak into someone’s life or feel God is directing you to speak to a person about these pitfalls.
It is very helpful when a friend looks out for you spiritually and warns you of possible danger. It is a humbling experience to be the one bringing the warning as well as the one being warned. It takes great courage to be both. It also takes great courage to follow a warning. When we choose to follow direction it can be life-changing.
As I have reflected back to times in my life that I have followed warnings my friends have given me, I often see that I avoided being easily entangled and engulfed in behavior and thoughts that do not line up with Christ and his word. When I have been the person warning, it can be humbling and uncomfortable. “God, you want me to say what?” Often times, friends have come back and expressed thanks. There have been times when I have been warned and do not see the potential danger myself, but due to the trust that I have with the person and with the Holy Spirit that leads them, I follow the advice. I will never know the amount of snags that have been adverted by humbly following a warning.
In closing, it is important to saturate yourself in the Word of God daily and be led by His Holy Spirit. Measure everything people speak into your life through the filter of God’s Word. Having said that, it is also important and life-changing to live in an attitude of humility where we are open to the warnings of other Christians. Humbly following a warning can help us as Christians stay out of unnecessary trouble and sin. Humbly warning others can also help them stay out of pitfalls and sin. This could potentially save everybody a lot of time, embarrassment, spiritual and even physical harm.
Where in your life has God used someone else to warn you of an area of sin in your life? When has God wanted to use you to bring a warning to someone else?