"You, therefore, must be  perfect,
as your heavenly Father is perfect
Matthew 5:48

"...your heavenly Father is perfect",
is what the second part of that verse has told us, but then we all knew that already.
GOD is perfect because He is without defect, spot, or blemish.
He is without error.
As hard as that verse sounds to us, we must strive to fulfill our obligation for the first part of it,
simply because it is a command from Jesus Christ.
Therefore, we must be without error as well.
Jesus Christ also gave us this command, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
Matthew 22:39
What exactly does that mean? It means that we must wish the best for our neighbor and have hope for his salvation.
It means that we must strive to help him to be perfect.
It means it is our responsibility to alert him when he is in error.
It is also our responsibility to heed an admonition from another when we are in error.
If any of us fails to expose error when we see it, then we are held responsible for the punishment that the person in error receives.

Holy Scripture gives us several guidelines for what we are obligated to do when we see error.

If a Prophet from GOD gives us a warning in regard to error once, then we certainly should pay attention to it.
And one certainly did:

Ezekiel 3:18-19, "Suppose I tell you that wicked people will surely die, but you don't warn them or speak out so that they can change their wicked ways in order to save their lives. Then these wicked people will die because of their sin, but I will hold you responsible for their deaths. But suppose you warn the wicked people, and they don't turn from their wicked ways. Then they will die because of their sin, but you will save yourself."

However, if that same Prophet from GOD gave a similar warning a second time, then he has added emphasis for the importance of his message and so we must take it very seriously.
And thus did Ezekiel issue his message for a second time:

Ezekiel 3:20-21, "If righteous people turn from living the right way and do wrong, I will make them stumble, and they will die. If you don't warn them, they will die because of their sin, and the right things they did will not be remembered. I will hold you responsible for their deaths. But if you warn righteous people not to sin, and they don't sin, they will certainly live because they listened to the warning. You will save yourself."

But what if that very same Prophet from GOD repeated that same warning yet a third time???
Surely it has become a dire warning indeed, one that simply cannot be ignored:

Ezekiel 33:8-9, "Suppose I say to a wicked person, 'You wicked person, you will certainly die,' and you say nothing to warn him to change his ways. That wicked person will die because of his sin, and I will hold you responsible for his death. But if you warn a wicked person to turn from his ways and he doesn't turn from them, then he will die because of his sin. However, you will save yourself."

As you can readily see we are obligated to speak up and to challenge those who are in error. If we see someone about to fall into the pit, then we must warn them before they do so. If we fail to warn them, then we too will fall into the pit with them, since by our failure to act we have assumed their error as well.

Matthew 15:14, "Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit."

Proverbs 12:28, "In the path of righteousness is life, but the way of error leads to death."

2Peter 3:15-17, "So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.
You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, beware lest you be carried away with the error of lawless men and lose your own stability."

1John 4:6, "We are of God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and he who is not of God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error."

Ephesians 5:11, "Take no part in the fruits of darkness, but instead expose them."

Ephesians 5:13, "...but all the things that are exposed are made manifest by the light: for all that is made manifest is light."

Jude 1:10, "But these men revile whatever they do not understand, and by those things that they know by instinct as irrational animals do, they are destroyed. Woe to them! For they walk in the way of Cain, and abandon themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam's error, and perish in Korah's rebellion."

Romans 1:18, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth."

Romans 2:5-8, "But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed. For he will render to every man according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury."

Psalms 95:10-11, "For forty years I loathed that generation and said, they are a people who err in heart, and they do not regard my ways. Therefore I swore in my anger that they should not enter my rest."

"If the people hear the horn and ignore the warning and the enemy comes and takes them,
they will be responsible for their own deaths."
Ezekiel 33:4

See what your reward for exposing error will be. Notice how well these verses dovetail with those of Ezekiel:

" My brethren, if any one among you wanders from the truth and some one brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins."
James 5:19-20

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."
Matthew 5:16

"Not to oppose error is to approve it; and not to defend truth is to suppress it".
Pope St. Felix III (483-492)

Written by Bob Stanley
August 28, 2004
Updated October 20, 2005 
Updated October 9, 2006

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