Know well the condition of your flocks, And pay attention to your herds; -Proverbs 27:23
With the recent mass killings fresh in our mind, something that always happens after one of these tragedies is that the people close to the murderer routinely say they had no idea the person would do something like this. Neighbors, school friends, or coworkers all say the same thing “he was such a nice person, I never knew he was into things like this.” And while it is hard to put much blame on someone who only has acquaintance level of familiarity with someone, it is far more troubling to hear that the parents of these young men are equally ignorant. Most of the time, these young men live with or near their parents but their parents are utterly clueless to the condition of their sons hearts.
Alas we think this is just a problem with fathers of murderers, how many times does a young lady get pregnant out of wedlock and their parents act totally surprised. How many teenage children are doing things right under the noses of their parents and their parents seem to have no clue of any of it. Often it’s not that the parents are given no signs of these things. There are always signs all around for everyone to see. But we have made a culture out of closing our eyes to things we really don’t want to see.
“See something, say something” has a big brother totalitarian ring to it and no one wants tattlers running to a tyrannical government. But honestly, there is no need to worry about people saying something because we have all collectively agreed not to see something. That young woman struggling with her kids being disobedient at church- What young woman struggling with her kids being disobedient at church are you talking about? That young man who won’t look you in the eyes when he is talking to you because he might be experiencing guilt for looking at porn- What young man you talking about? I didn’t see that. Well how about that young boy with all the effeminate mannerisms and lispy voice, maybe he is struggling with unnatural lusts. Didn’t see him either.
We are very good at not seeing what we see so we don’t have to get involved, so we won’t have to say something.
The Proverb says: Know well the condition of your flock. This has application beyond the farmer. Pastors need to be able to see what they see. Fathers need to be able to see what they see. Fathers do you know the condition of your children? Do you have talks with them about what is on their heart. Do you know what they are consuming on the internet or in the books they read? Do you know what your son does in his room with the door locked all the time? Do you know what your daughter is thinking about the boys she is hanging out with?
You need to know well the condition of your household and that will require seeing what you see and saying something to your household when you see it- not as a nag or a private eye snooping- but as someone who genuinely cares to know the heart of their son or daughter. If you don’t know the condition of your flock it is because A. you are just an absentee shepherd or B. you are self-blinded shepherd. Both will end up with a diseased and sickened flock.