When the watchman sees the enemy coming, he sounds the alarm to warn the people. Then if those who hear the alarm refuse to take action, it is their own fault if they die. They heard the alarm but ignored it, so the responsibility is theirs. If they had listened to the warning, they could have saved their lives. But if the watchman sees the enemy coming and doesn’t sound the alarm to warn the people, he is responsible for their captivity. They will die in their sins, but I will hold the watchman responsible for their deaths. (Ezekiel 33:3-6)
Relate: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” That is the question Cain presented when God asked him where Able was. Yes, Cain was guilty as sin for what he had done to his brother, but the way the question is most often today is very different. Today that question is generally used to really ask, “Am I responsible for another’s actions?” I wish there was an easy answer to this question. This is true on both a personal and national level. I recently had a discussion with someone on whether the US is responsible for ISIS. It is very easy for people to spout out a quick yes or no based on their ideology and preconceived notions of what is happening there, but the closer one looks the harder it is to give such a black and white response.
In the same way, if I tell somebody, “You really shouldn’t do that”, but they go and do it anyways, am I really off the hook? If I didn’t tell them why they shouldn’t do it or if I said it in a self-righteous condemnatory way that did nothing more than get their back up, have I truly given them warning? The same thing is true with social justice warriors. We all love to get on our social media platforms and shout out to all the world how this cause or that one deserves more attention or how this thing or that one needs to change. We then pat ourselves on the back and go about our business. Is that truly being a watchman? How many people actually see our facebook meme’s? How many really read our blogs? Am I screaming out in an empty room and wondering why no one hears? Am I just one more social billboard in the times square like environment that is people’s facebook walls wondering why I don’t have more “likes”? Is this what being a watchman is really all about?
React: What does it really take to be a watchman? How can I truly be effective in my warnings? They say that actions speak louder than words, how true is this? If my words are falling on deaf ears and my writing on blind eyes, is it possible that my actions can become a warning that will get through to people’s minds and hearts and bring about a true change? How can I go about being the warning for change that people so want to hear? Is it possible that simply shouting out one more message in a crowded noisy environment is actually causing more harm than good? Am I truly a watchman or just a false prophet? Is there blood on my hands even as I fool myself into thinking that I have done my duty?
Please, please don’t let me be just another drowned out voice on a noisy street with no one listening. I don’t just want to be loud, I want to be effective. Help me to find creative and powerful ways to let my voice be heard. Help Your warning that I cry out make its way to the ears and minds and hearts of those who desperately need to hear. I am my brother’s keeper. Help me to keep well that Your kingdom might advance and Your glory might be seen and that Your warning might be heeded.