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Watch Your Stepp

By Jody Griffin

Avery and Mitchell Countiesjody griffin Avery Mitchell Correctional Institution Watch Your Step


“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)

The sign said, “Watch Your Step!”, but I didn’t see it.  Focused on getting from here to there quickly and efficiently without delay instead of the exact placement of my feet meant that I passed by the warning like I had done many times before, with no conscious thought of its purpose. So when the feet began sliding, the mind flashed back to the bright sign and its bold declaration…

If only we had someone available to remind us of this important safety precaution, we would at least have the potential to miss much of what happens to bring pain, suffering, and loss. “Watch Your Step!” or you could be injured. “Watch Your Step!” or you could cause someone else to be hurt. “Watch Your Step!” or you could soon be in the midst of disaster.

Confessions shared with the Chaplain offer opportunity to present the gift of this challenge from God’s Word. The English word circumspectly is translated from the Greek word akribos (pronounced ah-kree-bose’) meaning diligently or exactly. Perhaps a most helpful understanding of this verse would be ‘to walk giving careful attention to each step taken.’

Perhaps we have found ourselves facing the consequences of our inattention…It is common in prison and it is common almost everywhere else too.

The apostle Paul is teaching the congregation in Ephesus that when believers are thoughtful and attentive to the implications of their actions, then they can make the most of the moments that make up the years of their lives. Such thoughtfulness leads to the ability to make wise decisions and avoid the consequences of foolish decisions. This truth is of particular importance because the ‘days are evil’. The most obvious observation that can be made here is that when we fail to give careful attention to the manner of our daily living, we are prone to get caught up in the less than honorable.

Someone once said, “If we are to redeem the time, meaning buy the time for ourselves, then we must make wise and sacred use of every opportunity for doing good so that zeal and well being are as it were the purchase money by which we make the time our own.”

If only every hazard had a warning label…but then that would be too easy! Inevitably human beings cease paying close attention to the potential hazards on our life journey and find ourselves (and often others) in pain as a result. Prisons are full of people who ceased paying attention to the warning signs.

Some might argue that to sound this alarm is a form of judgmental thinking. “How dare you presume to know what is best for me, or what I need to do to watch my step!” But the warning made out of love and compassion is NOT judgmental at all.

It is a privilege to sound the alarm to any who needs to hear it. ‘WATCH Your Step!”   It’s a warning meant to help someone else avoid the consequences of being distracted.

How might this warning be of help to you today? And how could this shared warning benefit others you know and care about today?


Jody Griffin is pastor of Central Baptist Church in Spruce Pine and Community Funded Chaplin at Avery-Mitchell Correctional Institution. If you would like more information contact him at

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