Warning, Warning, Young Will Robinson...
Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. Apostle Paul
For the past eight years, Kim McClain has been a research scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies. She has traveled to hard-hit cities and towns to understand why people got killed in storms that she says "really should be survivable as long as people can get to the right shelter." In an interview with NPR, McClain was asked to explain why people failed to heed weather warnings:
We give people days of alert that their general region may be threatened. But people are really savvy about this. They know that even if a region in general is at risk, that doesn't necessarily mean there will be a tornado that hits their house. So people wait until things get quite close until they make those calls. For tornadoes, they typically wait until they're under a warning and then there are just a couple of minutes. Then all they can really do is shelter in place. People are doing what we call "confirming the threat." And they do this … on a continuous basis. They'll be watching, and maybe they'll go get their children. But they won't necessarily take shelter until things get a little bit closer. **
How long since a brother or sister in Christ has given you a warning? Or you lovingly delivered one? Paul expressed this twice in his letter to Colosse: "warning and teaching everyone" with the goal of Christ-followers maturing in Christ... and let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God (1:28, 3:16). To admonish is to warn...the same word "noutheteow" is in both passages, literally meaning to put into mind. A normal "one another" in the body of Christ is this, that we warn each other -- don't go down that path, it's dangerous, or, I've been where you are and I don't want you to end up like I did. To warn is to protect out of love and care.
Are you the kind of person who touches everything that says "WET PAINT" to be sure for yourself? Can you learn from the mistakes of others, or do you need to make each and every mistake all on your own? Wisdom and warning are close friends; to experience the one is to know the other. The attitude Paul expressed in his letter to Corinth is best: I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. Regular warnings, given and received, are part of our life together. Don't wait too long to heed the warnings...or to give them.
** Rebecca Ellis, “What Makes People Heed A Weather Warning - Or Not?” NPR (3-2-19)