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When It’s My Job to Say Something

When It’s My Job to Say Something

If anyone sins in that he hears a public adjuration to testify, and though he is a witness, whether he has seen or come to know the matter, yet does not speak, he shall bear his iniquity. Leviticus 5:1

Years ago, while struggling to stay sober, I began meeting with a close friend as an accountability partner. The idea was that we both had our life struggles and that we would meet weekly to check in with each other. How are you doing? We were supposed to share our successes and failures and the accountability was meant to motivate each other to remain on the straight and narrow. When I relapsed though, I didn’t want to admit it or to meet with him, so I made up an excuse not to meet. The next week, I made up another. This went on for 10 weeks with 10 excuses. Then, when my life fell apart due to my relapse and I had to confess, he realized that I’d been lying about all my excuses. Up to that point, he’s taken me at my word, believing that I was just really busy.

We still meet weekly, but the rules are a little different this time around. I may occasionally miss a week, but if I would miss a couple weeks in a row, he would know to be concerned and he would say something. What’s going on? Where’ve you been? If I did relapse, he wouldn’t be responsible for my relapse. If, however, he saw concerning behavior in my life, he would absolutely be responsible to say something to me about it. If he kept silent, he’d bear some guilt for his silence.

We believe we should mind our own business. No one likes a busybody. There are times however, when it’s our responsibility to say something. That’s the message of today’s passage. Leviticus is filled with ceremonial Old Testament rules that don’t apply to us, but hidden in it, are some maxims of life that have universal application, like this one – Sometimes, it’s our responsibility to speak up. When we see evil, and circumstances call on us to address it, we’re guilty of sin if we remain silent.

When we see a friend struggling with self-destructive behavior, it’s our duty to address it. We won’t likely be thanked, and we may even become the enemy. Our intervention may change nothing, but that’s not our responsibility. Our responsibility in all things is simply to do what’s right ourselves. Sometimes, that means saying something, even when it’s uncomfortable to do so.

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