The nature of “warnings” has changed in the last few years.  I remember the day when a “tornado warning” meant someone had spotted an actual tornado.  But the other day I saw a warning issued because of circumstances that were likely to lead to a tornado.  Twenty miles offshore.

I mean no disrespect to the fine men and women who spend quality time in boats.  By all means, encourage boat captains to exercise caution in dangerous situations.  But I see no need for me to hunker down in the hallway with candles and potted meat just because trouble might be out there somewhere for someone.

“The boy who cried wolf” has become a cliché in our culture.  “Chicken Little,” too.  And yet we go into panic mode at the drop of a hat, sure that the wolf is indeed at the door this time, that the sky really is falling.

One day it will be true.  Perhaps today it is on its way to being true.  But there is a very real danger in sounding warnings when there is nothing to truly fear.  It deadens our senses.  It lengthens our reaction time.  In short, it weakens our ability and our determination to respond properly in the case of a true emergency.

Such is certainly true in the spiritual realm.  Like the prophet (Ezekiel 3:17), we are encouraged and even required to awaken souls from slumber, bringing their attention to pending judgment and the consequences that will follow.  But “warning” them against the potential dangers of every yellow-flag situation discredits the messenger; real warnings of real red-flag situations are ignored, and souls are lost.

The solution, as always, is for everyone involved to act responsibly.  Get the facts.  Choose a wise course of action.  Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.  In such matters, thankfully, Christians have a distinct advantage over the experts (and everyone else) dealing with carnal matters.  Our facts are from God.  Our wisdom is His word.  And by trusting in His guidance, we can be confident of our ultimate deliverance from whatever trial comes upon us — and perhaps even drag someone to safety along with us.