Is God really watching?…and what does God see?
When I was a kid, my parents would sometimes remind me, “Remember, God is watching you! God sees you.” Were you ever told that? I’ll bet you were. As I look back on those occasions, and even now when someone says something like that to me, I realize that I often took those words as something of a threat. “God is watching!” So, even if there was no one else to see what I did wrong, God would. How about you? What do you think of when someone tells you, “God sees everything you do?” Do you think that means that God is keeping track of all your sins or failures, that nothing bad you do no matter how secretly you do it, avoids God’s notice? Or do you include your successes in the meaning of that statement?
Apparently, our common concern that God makes sure to keep track of the bad things we do was a fairly common belief even in the earliest days of the Church. I say that because there’s an interesting passage on this very topic in the Letter to the Hebrews in the New Testament. In the 6th Chapter (verse 10) the author writes “God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love you have demonstrated….” The author to the Hebrews clearly wants everyone who reads this letter (including us) to know that, indeed, God is watching. But that means that God notes primarily the “love you have demonstrated.” God is paying close attention to the good that we do. No threat there, just a reassuring promise.
The consistent message of the Scriptures is that God is reaching out to us to give us the fullness of life, not to bring us restrictions or death. So often we let fear or other people keep us locked up and wary. Knowing that God is indeed watching us should encourage us to live with open hearts and great confidence in God’s presence with us and His great love for us.
What do you understand by the claim that “God is watching you”?
Are you grateful for God’s notice or uncomfortable with the idea?
What are some of the things about yourself that you hope God is noticing?
Reflection © 2018 by Michael Higgins C.P.
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