James Q. Wilson died this past week, but you probably have never heard of him. Yet, his “broken window theory” was adopted by police departments all over America to reduce crime.
For years people believed more police officers made safer neighborhoods. Wilson noticed something else.
Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it’s unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside. Or consider a sidewalk. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of trash from take-out restaurants there or breaking into cars.
Crime starts with a simple broken window. When cities started cleaning up the “broken windows” of neighborhoods, crime dropped dramatically.
Do you have broken windows in your life? Do you tolerate “white lies” you tell? Is gossip just a way to pass the time? Is it easier to roll over on Sunday morning than get to worship?
Those “broken windows” signal a willingness to let a little more sin in your life. An unsightly Christian life becomes an ugly spiritual slum in no time.
Notice the broken windows of your life. Repair them now. Rein in your tongue. Sweeten your words to others. Open your heart as you open your Bible each morning. When the broken windows are repair, it speaks to the world you want a better life.
It’s time to take inventory. What are your broken windows?