Tell them that as surely as I, the Sovereign Lord, am the living God, I do not enjoy seeing sinners die. I would rather see them stop sinning and live. Israel, stop the evil you are doing. Why do you want to die? Ezekiel 33: 11
The concept of “sin” isn’t very popular these days. I guess it’s human nature to resent being told what to do. But sometimes, restrictions can be good. I remember hearing about a restaurant in the mountains whose parking lot ended at the edge of a steep cliff. On the fence along that end of the parking lot was a sign: “No parking beyond this point.” Anybody in their right mind would be grateful for that limit on their freedom.
God makes it clear in the above passage that He doesn’t create hoops for people to jump through so He can take pleasure in watching them fail. God wants us to stop sinning—not for His sake—but for our own. Thinking we can achieve happiness by self-centered living is as shortsighted as resenting the “no parking” sign on that cliff-top parking lot. When self-will is in control, we’re apt to collide with other people whose self-will is also in control. Deferring to God’s plan for us instead of our own—even when we don’t feel like it—leads to more life, not less.
Prayer: Lord, help me choose life.
Reflection for sharing: When has accepting restrictions helped me? How might my concept of God and sin need to be challenged?