Naturally, we want what’s best for those we love – whether that’s healthy eating and exercise or living consistently with the values of their faith. But our responsibility here is that of a watchman and not an enforcer.
It’s hard to watch loved ones make poor choices or live a lifestyle that goes against the very core of who we know them to be.
And we’re often strongly motivated in these situations to get them to change.
While our heart for them is good, we must still check our approach.
In most situations, the individual is still in their right mind to make decisions, even when we passionately disagree with the decisions they’re making.
In other words, they’re still responsible for the choices they make and we must respect their freedom to choose their own path.
This does not mean we turn a blind eye to their behaviors. Rather, as a good watchman, we warn them of the danger we see approaching.
This is how God instructed Ezekiel.
The watchman’s job was to sound the alarm and warn the people of coming danger. But if they refused to take action and were harmed, the fault was their own. But God will hold the watchman accountable if he never sounds the alarm.
Even when the situation is dire, our best posture is often that of the watchman.
However well meaning, forced compliance tends to backfire. We cannot bully someone into right living.
And external compliance is not the same as internal transformation. If we want our loved ones to truly change, we must allow them the freedom to choose the right path for themselves.
The watchman’s duty is to warn, not to enforce.
Don’t bully your loved ones. Be a watchman and respect their freedom of choice.