When nobody is looking

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Arrow right #1 Icon Created with Sketch. When nobody is lookingOctober 25, 2019Mark CarpenterColumns, Opinion0 By Denae Jones-Raise your hand if you have animal “children.”Raise your hand if they are just as ornery as human children.We have a golden retriever and a rescue dog that is a mix of a labrador and collie. I swear, they have their own language used to conspire and come up with plans that commence the moment we shut the door to leave the house. They never, ever think to jump up on our beds or furniture when we are home. But the other day, I forgot something and had to run back in the house (30 seconds after I walked out the door) and they had already pulled something out of the garbage and were eating it on the couch! Our new couch. The one we don’t even let the kids eat on.The other night, we had just gotten home from taking the kids trick-or-treating at East Fork, and it was so nice out that our family decided to sit around a fire for a while. When we came back in, our retriever had found and eaten my son’s entire bag of candy. Wrappers and all.So, I started paying attention. As soon as I get home, I take a good look around. I almost always find paw prints on the couch and warm spots on the beds. Their chew toys will be forgotten in a corner somewhere, but there will be traces of other things they have chewed on. There are nose prints in the windows and couch pillows have been pulled to various places to lay on.What the heck!? None of this happens when we are home, so they know what is expected. They know what they should do. Yet, they have figured out how to sneak and get away with doing it while nobody is looking. Makes me wonder what we would see if we installed a camera. Brats! Both of them.I immediately thought of what we teach our students in school about integrity. “Do the right thing, even when nobody is looking.”Hmmm. We all like to think that’s what we do, but do we really follow that? Or, do we see what we can get away with when we think nobody is watching? Let’s be honest.I mean, the neighbors can’t hear us yell if the windows are shut, right?Our pastor doesn’t hear how we talk after we leave church.Our boss doesn’t see us ‘borrow’ those supplies.Our texts can be deleted.The history on our computers can be cleared.Bottles can be hidden.Contacts can be disguised.Fingers can be pointed.Money can be moved around.Am I right?So, here is something to consider. Are we careful to act like a person with integrity only when we think others will notice? Or do we really do it all the time? Because here’s the thing: No matter who we hide things from, no matter how much we cover up, no matter how sneaky we get, even if we think nobody else knows – God knows. We can’t hide anything from Him. He doesn’t need a camera installed to see everything we do. He knows.Would God say that we are a person of integrity?If we think we have to sneak it, or hide it, or delete it, or cover it up, that’s a good indication that we shouldn’t be doing it in the first place. If that’s your story, I want you to hear this. Ready?Nothing you have done is too big for God’s forgiveness. Nothing.And now is the perfect time to stop doing it.If you feel convicted about something you’ve been doing that you need to change, I encourage you to ask God to help you change it. We don’t love our children (animal or human) any less when they mess up, right? We just help them learn from it and become better because of it. (And maybe double check that the lid on the garbage can is closed before we leave the house.)God will still love you, too. He didn’t send his only son, Jesus, to die a horrible death on a cross for only a couple of our sins. He died for all of them. Even the ones we think are unforgiveable. Even the ones we think nobody will ever see, or ever find out.Is there anything in those secret places of your heart that is standing between you and God right now? Why are you keeping it there? He already knows, so be honest with Him. Ask Him to help you remove that shame and guilt from your life.I encourage you to spend some alone time doing a real examination of conscience. Confess whatever is on your heart, and ask God to remove that desire to ever do it again. Our God is merciful! Trust Him with your secrets, and He will cast away your sins.“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12Have a blessed week, frilast_img