Read Ezekiel 2-3
“I Sat Where They Sat”
Ezekiel was called by God to deliver warnings against the people of Israel. He was, in God’s view, “a watchman” (Ezekiel 3:17). The responsibility was great: if God issued a warning, and Ezekiel failed to relay that warning to the people, not only would the wicked die but Ezekiel would be guilty as well. As long as Ezekiel was faithful in his duty to deliver the warning, his soul would be delivered, regardless of the wicked man’s response to the message.
While God was commissioning Ezekiel, the prophet says, “Then I came to the captives at Tel Abib, who dwelt by the River Chebar; and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days” (Ezekiel 3:15). Consider how much more powerful would his ministry prove to be since he “sat where they sat”! He was able to empathize, to put himself in their place, to understand their experiences and environment so much better. Christians would do well to learn this lesson from this great prophet.
There are several axioms that describe what Ezekiel did here. “Do not judge another man until you have walked a mile in his shoes.” “Do not judge a book by its cover.” What you observe in another person does not always tell the whole story. Be very cautious before you jump to conclusions about another’s situation.
Did you notice anyone sleeping in the worship services on Sunday? Do you know why they were sleeping, or did you assume the worst? Perhaps they worked a late shift Saturday night, perhaps even into Sunday morning, and got very little sleep. But they still showed up to worship God. Perhaps they are taking medication that causes drowsiness. But they still showed up to worship God. Maybe they were young parents who had dealt with infants crying through the night. But they still showed up to worship God.
Rather than passing judgment, ask how you might be able to help. At the very least, commend them for their faithfulness and their example of being present—even when they may not feel like being there. In your mind, do your best to “sit where they sit” and understand their situation.