Stemming from a blog I wrote specifically on the topic of Biblical Self Defense, I’d like to cover the Biblical case for situational awareness.
If you understood Exodus 22:2-3 from my previous blog that self-defense can be justified, then what things can we do in order to avoid threats? You’d need to truly become more aware of your surroundings to accomplish that task. Are we called to do this from a Biblical perspective? Proverbs 14 speaks directly to that, specifically in 14:8 as well as 14:15-16. You can’t consider your steps, your way, or your direction without looking around – literally and metaphorically.
The wisdom of the sensible is to understand his way, but the foolishness of fools is deceit.Proverbs 14:8
The naive believes everything, but the sensible person considers his steps.Proverbs 14:15-16
A wise person [a]is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is arrogant and careless.
What about Paul addressing folks in Ephesians 5:15-16? That is huge… Check it out:
So then, be careful how you walk, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.Ephesians 5:15-16
Paul warns us, straight up, to be careful, aware, and discerning about our gaze, our direction, and our use of resources, because there is an evil that wishes to do us harm. This implies, directly, that you can avoid evil through the practice of being careful and discerning, both with your place and your time.
The question now becomes, “Ok Michael, how do I become more situationally aware? How do I impart this on my spouse, friends, or even my children without making them paranoid people?” <— This is the right question to ask, by the way…
You start by just talking about things you need to know. If you become separated from your Dad, who do you find him again? A cop, a store clerk with a nametag, and the likes are great options. Another huge helper is the mom you can identify with the most kids. You can bet an obvious mom will help a kid find their parent or group again.
My daughter is old enough now that I let her out of my sight, but with conditions. If we walk into the store, what are the exits or where are they most likely to be found? If you exit the store, from each exit identified which immediate direction will you turn to find the vehicle (rally point) we arrived in? I require my daughter to be able to tell me the names on the nametags of at least two workers in the store and provide me a description of them. These are just examples of a fun start you can have with your kids to instill situational awareness. Do I care if she can tell me all about the purple-haired girl that ran her through the express checkout? Probably not, but I DO care that she’s people-watching and cognizant of her surroundings, and this is a great way to start that practice. If my daughter can’t provide the basics during trips to the store, she can set in the car, and let others handle the fun shopping experience.
The picture below is a personal favorite of mine. We use Col. Jeff Cooper‘s Color Codes of Awareness daily. We people watch and rate other people by the color on the chart below. Unfortunately, most are solidly white. But, every now and then you run across some yellow, and occasionally some orange. Red is rare thankfully. Interestingly, you can just about label the folks you see in yellow. Tight hair cut, physically fit, 20s-30s-40s, etc., to which I ask my daughter what she’s guessing they do if she sees someone that checks all the boxes. “Probably a cop, or maybe a guy at home from the Army on leave…” I usually agree.
Another time you’ll be glad you’re using the color code isn’t solely the identification of other good guys, but bad guys. The bad guys don’t walk around in “white” all the time. They’re typically in orange. They’re in a heightened state and something doesn’t look right at all. You need to get out of there when this is present. Alert a cop. This goes to the heart of Ephesians 5:15-16.
Set up some rules to fall back on. Know where you are. Know where you are to meet up and under what circumstances. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t be the mom or dad that presses the unlock button on your vehicle remote and immediately sticks your head in the back seat or trunk to unload all of your packages. That is the crucial time when the bad guys cover 30 yards in under two seconds. You could forfeit packages, your peace, and maybe even your life. Open that door, and then as you’re lowering your head, pop back up like you’re made of coil springs, and put your head on a swivel. Look all around you. Make eye contact briefly with people you see. You’ll be sending a nonverbal message that you’re not an easy victim, which means in today’s world, you’re unlikely to become one. You’ll get jumped when you’re distracted, period.
Dear Lord, may my journey to remain salty and offer a beacon of light continue for Your benefit.