Watch Your Step


I wrote this poem a few years ago in response to what happened to my student who was the subject of my Friends and Needles post. I have more commentary after the poem.

Watch Your Step

When I first saw their sin
I was repulsed and very shaken
But, as I slowly looked again
My disgust began to weaken

I began to see their sinful deed
As something to be pitied
Surely they would try to stop
If I loved them but not their sinning

Perhaps I could gain their trust
If their sin I would tolerate
Certainly, if I became their friend
It would help their sin abate

As I grew closer to them
Towards their sin I simply grew passive
And in my fondness for their love
My preaching became inactive

I certainly could not condemn their acts
So my teaching I neglected
And while I grew used to them
Their sin I just accepted

One day I saw them sin again
And I barely took second glance
And when someone else questioned their acts
I quickly ran to their defense

I still knew the act was sinful
But castigation is so strong
Surely the love I showed them
Would make them understand their wrong

One day a friend asked me
About someone that they knew
Who engaged in the same weakness
I said “let me tell you what to do”

“Just love them like I love my friends”
I said, “Don’t tell them that it’s a sin”
“Because maybe the act is justified”
“We don’t know where they’ve been”

And that is how I progressed
To eventually taking part
Then promoting their activities
And giving it no thought

So if you notice someone sinning
Let me tell you what to do
Simply “observe” then “pity” then “tolerate”
But wait, we’re still not through

Then, you “accept” “defend” and “promote” the act
And “engage” in the activity as well
So one day when the judgment comes
You can spend forever with your friends in Hell

 – by Bob Baulch

Obviously, we need to love everyone — including sinners — because we are all sinners. Jesus was the ultimate example of how and why we should associate with sinners. However, let’s not lose sight of the truth that Jesus came to seek and save the lost — not just socially befriend them (Luke 19:10). We should do the same. We must do our best to walk in love towards others – while remaining pure ourselves. A great passage that might help explain this is Ephesians 5:1-20.

“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

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