Is Your Window Broken?

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Ever heard of ‘The Broken Window Theory’? I hadn’t until a few months ago when our deputy chief referred to it during one of our fire department meetings. Although ‘The Broken Window Theory’ is based on the premise that disorder leads to crime, within the framework of the theory is a principle that can be found in the book of Proverbs.

I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man. —Proverbs 24:30-34 KJV

Whether it’s a broken window, things left undone or out of place, or disintegrating relationships, it conveys a sense of complacency and apathy, and can become a new ‘normal’ if left neglected or disregarded. Those directly or indirectly involved are basically saying, “I don’t care enough,” or “It’s not my problem or responsibility,” or “We don’t feel led to get involved”. Neglect leads to disorder, disorder leads to chaos, and chaos leads to tragedy.

We are all a part of something, even if only a part of humanity. We all have a responsibility. If we want peace instead of chaos, happiness instead of sadness, beauty instead of ugliness, success instead of failure, and growth instead of decay, then the little things matter, and it’s up to us to take ownership and fix the broken windows.


If you liked this, you might also like… Wisdom Wednesday: Neglect Destroys

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About Rene Yoshi

Just a transplanted Okinawan-French Southern girl with a wee bit o' Irish, sharing photography and what I'm learning about spiritual things, including putting off legalism and religious traditions, and embracing God's matchless love, tender mercy, and amazing grace! View all posts by Rene Yoshi

13 responses to “Is Your Window Broken?

  • Unshakable Hope

    Great post, Rene. I’ve heard about this broken window theory before, but I really like the way you connected it to scripture.

  • Heidi Viars

    What a wonderful way of putting it!

  • Randell

    Nice blog been waiting for it for ever. LOL 🙂

  • Cassandra

    i have read about the broken window theory and if you fix one then others will follow suit. I think if people loved more and cared more then maybe there would not be so much brokenness. The opposite of love is not hate but indifference. I think we can become numb, and complacent to situations and I appreciate this reminder to me that I can do some part even if it’s small and I also need to fix my broken window at home! Lol! It’s been over a year!

    • Rene Yoshi

      [chuckle] We have broken, neglected things, too. I should have and meant to say that sometimes complacency and apathy can beget complacency and apathy. When others don’t pitch in or do their part, it can be very disheartening. You’re right… “…if people loved more and cared more then maybe there would not be so much brokenness”. Thanks, Cassandra!!

  • Tienny The Storyteller

    I see. How do I handle the conflict peaceably with those who avoid responsibility?


    • Rene Yoshi

      That’s a great question, Tienny! If you have authority over a person, such as being a parent, teacher, employer or higher ranking position, then first, be sure you’re leading by example and talk to them. If they still fail to take responsibility, talk to them again and warn them that there will be consequences if they still choose to neglect their responsibilities. Then you must follow through.

      If you do not have authority over a person, such as husband and wife, roommates, or neighbors, then it becomes tough! You can respectfully and gently talk to the person, but if they still choose to neglect their responsibilities or choose to be lazy, there is not much else you can do besides try and reason with them. Sometimes suggesting you do things together can help, but ultimately, they have to care enough to change, which reminds me of another blog post I have in mind to compose— the same sun that melts wax, hardens clay. It’s really a matter of the heart.

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