2017-11-16 / Editorial Page

Man drives to 2 a.m. lecture on evils of drinking

Words of Encouragement
By ROGER ALFORD columnist

A policeman pulled over a fellow at 2 a.m. and asked where he was heading.

“I’m on my way to a lecture on the evils of alcohol,” he said. “The lecture also will include warnings about smoking and staying out late.”

“Really,” the officer said. “Who is giving a lecture this time of night?”

“My wife,” the man replied.

Perhaps you’ve noticed that the people who love us most are the ones take the time to warn us when we’re doing unhealthy or unhelpful things.

The Bible makes it clear that we are required to speak up when we see someone going the wrong direction.

‘If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you don’t speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at your hand’ (Ezekiel 33:8).

An Old Testament prophet named Jonah landed in deep water for refusing to warn the wicked as God had directed him to do. In one of the best-known passages in the Bible, Jonah ended up thrown into a churning sea and swallowed by a great fish because he disobeyed God and refused to go to Nineveh to warn the people there to stop their wickedness and turn to God.

After three days, that fish swam to the beach and dropped off Jonah, who had decided at that point that the best thing he could do was to do what God wanted him to do. So he went to Nineveh and preached like he’d never preached before, and everyone there turned to God.

If there’s a lesson we can take from Jonah, it’s that God expects us to speak for Him and that there are consequences for not doing so. After all, if we don’t speak up, how will people know about the saving-power of Jesus?

I suspect the man in that opening tale was in for a serious talking-to when he got home to his wife, because she loved him enough to tell him the truth.

We should be willing to do likewise.

Roger Alford offers words of encouragement to residents of America’s heartland. Reach him at rogeralford1@gmail.com.

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