Can you recall an instance where you shook your head in dismay over someone’s words, actions, or choices?
What was your next step:
Did you simply step away?
Or did you step up towards the person to speak with him or her about their misconduct?
I will admit that I have often hesitated over my next step in handling such matters. It’s incredibly difficult to confront someone and speak one’s mind about inappropriate conduct whether you know or don’t know him or her.
And it is even more of a challenge when you are dealing with someone who is supposed to be wiser in years, and especially if he or she occupies a position of authority.
We live in times where society as a whole is hyperaware that a response may offend others. Sadly, silence has become the default response to avoid having to handle the awkwardness that comes with confrontation.
The lack of sound counsel is likely the very reason that many moral compasses are ending up in a dysfunctional state.
Seriously though, is the awkwardness of that moment a good reason to step away in silence as a person makes one bad choice after another and derails themselves?
The fact remains that when it comes to making decisions, people desire to know what would be the right decision in every scenario that they encounter.
People are still in search of real talk!
The Vortex of Apathy
Folks who reside near coastlines all too often hear about people who have near misses with, or get pulled under by, undertows. Even the most experienced swimmer is often caught by surprise at the immense pull of a strong current.
Of the most sudden, drastic change in currents, the one to be vigilant of is a vortex.
The vortex is a swirling of opposing currents that has a downdraft to pull anything into its core in a rapid sweep. It is a silent killer in any body of water as one cannot react quickly enough to escape or to call out for help.
The ominous vortex of apathy looms in every area where we have the choice to speak up and assert our stance on a matter. If we choose to step away from that responsibility of speaking up, we risk getting swept away into the vortex of apathy.
The Consequences of Turning a Blind Eye
There once lived a man by the name of Eli who occupied a position of great authority as High Priest (You can read the whole story in 1 Samuel 2:12-36 KJV). His lineage was given the holy responsibility for serving the people of God in the Lord’s temple.
However, Eli did not restrain his sons from misusing their authority to commit acts of wickedness, including extortion and adultery.
At one point, Eli briefly questioned his sons about their actions and told them to stop. But, he neither persisted in his role as their father to speak out against their behaviour, nor did he reprimand them in his authoritative duty as High Priest. And so his sons carried on, unfazed by their father’s mild remarks.
Eli knew full well that his sons were defiling themselves, yet he lacked the moral fibre to withstand sin. Eli’s silence condoned the unlawful behaviour of his sons and they continued to minister with his consent.
The judgment of God fell upon the entire household, resulting in the unleashing of curses. His relatives were struck with blindness, broken hearts, and violent, untimely deaths. Eli’s household was cut off from the blessings of God and the honour of serving in the priesthood.
Had Eli stepped up to boldly confront his sons’ misconduct and require accountability, the story would likely have had a different ending. Successive generations in Eli’s lineage would not have been robbed of the honour that was reserved for their ancestors at one time. This honour was snatched away from Eli’s household and bestowed upon another.
Silence is Not Worth This Price
We must exercise caution so that we do not slip into a state of apathy. An effective antidote against apathy is to step up and speak up.
The Lord calls us to stand for righteousness. Taking a stand will place us in awkward situations and conversations, but it is necessary to help reorient so many who are headed on a path towards destruction.
Ephesians 5:11 directs us to: “Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them.”
As the old adage goes: “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” In other words, there are times when one is too close to a situation to have the proper perspective.
So the next time you see someone headed down the wrong path, will you step up towards him or her and start a conversation about it? Whether the person chooses to listen or not does not absolve us of our spiritual and moral responsibility to offer sound counsel.
Sometimes the best assistance you can offer someone is direct, undiluted truth spoken with love. With so many people stumbling in their lives, silence is not an option.
Steering others on the right path will definitely help to reorient them towards their God-given destiny.
Steering others on the right path will assuredly bless future generations who will benefit from that right decision that was made.
Steering others on the right path will undoubtedly help you steer clear of the vortex of apathy.
I am sure that you will agree that darkness is ever-increasing in this world. Will you choose to be a righteous voice that persistently rings out to help others to find The Way?
The Launch of a New Feature
As part of our mandate to offer content to help replenish you in your journey, we will be beginning a new series of posts that we pray will be an effective voice that offers counsel on key issues. Stay tuned for the “#WCA” releases!