An ancient Chinese proverb says, “If you won’t want anyone to know, don’t do it.”
Most of us have done something that we do not want others to know about. Little children may sneak that cookie before dinner, older children may accidentally break something while roughhousing and hide the evidence, and most adults have done certain things they hope do not become public knowledge. After a misdeed, peace of mind is disrupted. The thief and the murderer live in fear of being found out. We who may be guilty of lesser faults still worry about discovery. All of us can lose sleep from regretting our actions and having a guilty conscience. Octavia E. Butler once said, “I have a huge and savage conscience that won’t let me get away with things.”
When we are tempted to do something we know is wrong, we should follow the Chinese proverb: Don’t do it. Then there is no worry about others finding out. The apostle Paul tells Felix, “So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.” Paul tried very hard not to do evil as he went about his daily living. We should do the same.
Although Paul earnestly tried to serve his God faithfully, he was afflicted with the same nature with which we all struggle. He despairingly admits, “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” We share his problem, as Paul reminds us, “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” When we do something bad, we need to remember that our secret, while it may be hid from our friends, is not hid from the One who not only knows what we did but knows what we are thinking. David tells us:
“O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.”
David felt overwhelmed by God’s omniscience and we should feel the same. Ishmael Vargas once said:
“You can fool some of the people some of the time and all of the people some of the time. POSSIBLY you can fool all of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool God, ‘For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.’ No, you can’t fool Him my friend, not even once. He will bring every deed into judgment, EVERYTHING!”
How thankful we are for the forgiveness offered us by our heavenly Father. Although God knows about every one of our sins, He is a merciful God who has provided a way for forgiveness of sins through the sacrifice of his Son our Savior. Our Heavenly Father is willing to cast all our sins behind His back and remember them no more, as Isaiah tells us:
“Thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.” What a wonderful blessing to realize that we can go to bed each night completely forgiven because, as John tells us, “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
We are reminded by Paul that “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” Thankfully those sins that the Lord has cast behind His back will not be brought up when we stand before His son in judgment. Our Heavenly Father is loving and forgiving to those who seek to serve him faithfully. We need to heed the wise advice not to do anything that would displease Him, and when we fail, we need to confess our sins to Him and be thankful that we will not be judged for the sins that He has forgiven.
We believe that the return of our Lord is near. As we read in Hebrews, “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”
We take comfort knowing that:
“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
Robert J. Lloyd