Love... Is Restraining
If I announce that some wicked people are sure to die and you fail to tell them to change their ways, then they will die in their sins, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. But if you warn them to repent and they don't repent, they will die in their sins, but you will have saved yourself.
But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also.
Restraint, when applied to godly love, has several meanings:
1) Within the church, love demands the restraint of kindly correction. Paul's Epistles are loving exhortations. If we fail to warn our Christian kin about the consequences of habitual sin... we all lose.*
2) Within the world, love requires a good example and unusual restraint. In terms of romantic love, remember Joseph and Potiphar's wife. From her seduction, he 'Fled, and went outside' (Genesis 39:12, NASB).
3) Among enemies, love desires meekness,** the opposite of weakness. When we turn the other cheek, some bad guys will be shamed and turn to the Lord, like the Centurion who witnessed the crucifixion.***
Therefore, we love.
## Love Series: Love Is Restraining (Part 60)
* 'The prophet is a watchman to the house of Israel. His business is to warn sinners of their misery and danger. He must warn the wicked to turn from their way, that they may live. If souls perish through his neglect of duty, he brings guilt upon himself. See what those have to answer for, who make excuses for sin, flatter sinners, and encourage them to believe they shall have peace, though they go on. How much wiser are men in their temporal than in their spiritual concerns! They set watchmen to guard their houses, and sentinels to warn of the enemies' approach, but where the everlasting happiness or misery of the soul is at stake, they are offended if ministers obey their Master's command, and give a faithful warning; they would rather perish, listening to smooth things' (Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on Ezekiel 33:1-9). http://biblehub.com/commentaries/ezekiel/33-8.htm
** Meekness is strength under control. It allows God to fight our battles and administer perfect justice.
*** 'When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, 'Surely He was the Son of God!' ' (Matthew 27:54, NIV).
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Love series.