I Saw You When You Did Not See Me

In a local fast food chain, my husband, went in to order our Sunday night “taco feast” and stood in line behind a man he was familiar with. As my husband stood there quietly the married man, loudly and openly flirted with the young cashier in his church clothes. Without his wife and daughters present he fell into a casual cool personality that brought a lot of attention to himself. Finally completing the order, my husband stuck out his hand and told him he knew his in-laws being members of our church. His boisterous tone went placid in their brief conversation.

On the road home waiting in the two-lane left turning lane, I was about 6 cars back on the right side when my neighbor was the first car on the left side. I wondered if he would be going home like we were since he was in the opposite lane to turn into our neighborhood. When the light turned green, his car raced through the turn at lightning speed and quickly changed into the right hand lane and turned ahead of me into our neighborhood. Maybe the incident was not much of a thing, but it surprised me that he was speeding so recklessly when he is a foster parent of multiple children and the member of a very conservative type of church. He was alone in the car, but I saw him when he did not see me.

Another day on the road, I was on the way to the zoo, minding my own business driving the speed limit. A red SUV quickly came up and rode my bumper. In traffic the person was not able to pass me, so they stayed right there impatiently trying to push me forward in the traffic. This type of driving stresses me out because I do not like to bother people, even while driving. I stepped it up another 5 miles per hour, but the person remained on my bumper until finally there was an opening and they swerved around me. This time is was not someone we knew, but this person had the bumper sticker of a popular church in our area shining off their back window. This is not an uncommon occurrence in our area, these people with this church’s brand are regular road offenders, reflecting their level of spirituality through their driving.

It is these small impressions that we can give in the moments of our life when we believe we are all alone and no one will recognize us and we will have no accountability. God is watching, but perhaps, someone else is too. Our testimony can be ruined in one display of  bad character to a person who only knows us as an acquaintance or knows we have a connection with God and Christianity. Or maybe all they have to see is our bumper sticker to know we are a Christian.

The world despises hypocrites and evil men relish in the failures of people who call themselves God-fearing individuals or claim particular denominations. Some people seek pleasure in seeing a godly person fall and taking that fault and gossiping about it with an intent to cause Christ to look weak and ungodly, like they are.

I Thessalonians 5:21-23 says, Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.  Abstain from all appearance of evil.  And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Someone Sees You

There is a little story in The Book of Virtues about a little girl whose father takes her with him as he goes to steal his neighbor’s wheat. He tells her to warn him if someone sees him. Each time he is in the act of stealing she warns him, “Someone sees you,” so he hurriedly moves on to the next location to steal more wheat. Finally after the third field and repeated warnings from the little girl he cries in exasperation, “I’ve looked everywhere and I don’t see anyone.” To which she replies, “Someone sees you from above.*” Not only did God see that man stealing but he allowed his daughter to witness it also.

You may know how tempting it is to even go on vacation and let loose a little bit from the standards that you maintain in your home or in your church.

I want to encourage you to be the same everywhere you go and in everything you do.

Do not compromise your standards or even your preferences for momentary pleasure, justifying why something is alright in one instance and not in another. We do not know who is watching. Not every person that would recognize us would even say a word to us if they saw us doing something in their mind that was questionable but they will form an opinion about us and Jesus Christ too.

So I urge you to hold fast to that which is good, and abstain from evil (even in your driving), and keep yourself blameless.

It may not be that we always have the eyes of strangers peering in on our lives as we are “secretly” holding fast to that which is wrong and only abstaining from evil things when others are not around. It may not only be God seeing everything from above, usually children and spouses can pick up on whether we are blameless or not. They get the insider’s view of our lives sometimes to their own detriment because our actions become a stumblingblock (Romans 14:13).

Bringing It Home

So, I’m asking you to consider your life and ask yourself whether you are being consistent all the way through each and every thing you claim to be and teach others to be also. Are you honest? Are you justifying sin even on a “small” level and excusing it in secret or in front of your family? Are you living a righteous life even when you travel? Will you maintain your testimony even away from accountability?

We have the job as a Christian to be a consistent follower of Jesus Christ each and every day of our lives no matter where we are or what we are doing. With all my heart I hope that when others see us that they will see us living out a good and blameless life of generosity and godly character.

I Thessalonians 5:21-23 says, Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.  Abstain from all appearance of evil.  And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

* Bennett, William J. The Book of Virtues. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993. 604.