See Something, Say Something

Case study is an interesting field. For many years these courses devoured my time. The subject usually revolves around precedent. One particular court ruling often determines future findings. Thus, laws are built upon prior rulings as long as they adhere to the Constitution and conditions presented.

In one case, a horrible crime was being committed against a person in a local bar. A man stood by watching it unfold. The criminal was caught and prosecuted. However, the state determined that the bystander had it in his power to stop the crime, or at least intervene, but did not. After some debate, the bystander was also convicted and sentenced. He should have done something.

The late 1980’s and 90’s saw a resurgence of Manhattan, NY. To stop crime, citizens were engaged with a simple phrase: “If you see something, say something.” It was an effort to involve everyday people in cleaning up the city. While most of this effort has changed, there was a day when there were no bystanders. People were involved in reporting and stopping crime. They cared for one another. Law officers did not work alone and crime was at least kept in check.

The idea of “truth withheld” is often seen as a lie. While these debates are ongoing, the biblical stance is settled: James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. James promoted doing something. He did not support the bystander mentality.

This verse is a hard pill to swallow for most of the Pentecostals. Few, if any, would ever considered themselves a sinner just because they did not “do good.” I cannot remember anyone categorizing themselves as a sinner because they did not share the Gospel. I also cannot imagine any greater good than to be a witness. It is a perplexing thought to both embrace salvation and dismiss Acts 1:8, Mt 28:19-20, Jn 3:1-8, Acts 2:38-39, and many more. Yet, Truth withheld may be one of the most glaring issues for the modern day church. Convenience has a negative effect on most American congregations. The need is not felt as it was in the days of the early church.

I write to awaken us to our responsibility. We have been commissioned by Jesus Christ Himself to spread the Gospel. Yes, we all do strive to live a holy life as unto the Lord. Still, what if we make all of these efforts to live separate from the world but fail in reaching the lost with the message of the Baptism of the Holy Ghosts? What if, after all this time going to great lengths to be morally pure, only to find out that we bypassed the greatest of our duties?

We must go; evangelize, witness, and reach. We have The Truth and we must share it!

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole