On occasion we will see an official sign posted along the side of a street which reads something like this: “Slow: Children at Play.” Have you ever seen a sign which has the words that serve as the title of this article? I saw one recently, and it was not put out by any government-funded Department of Transportation. Rather, it was standing in someone’s private yard.
The appeal to “Drive Like Your Kids Live Here” calls on all who drive vehicles in that vicinity to drive them carefully, without reckless abandon, and at a safe speed. You never know when small children might dart out into your path. The words of the sign make it a personal matter – if it were our own kids or grandkids, we certainly would take care to drive as safely as possible, would we not? As a Christian, should I not value all life and drive as responsibly as possible, regardless of who may or may not be around?
Suppose we come up with some signs which are similar to the one about driving. For instance, how about this one? “Talk as If Your Mother Were Listening.” Some folks have a tongue problem, spewing out hateful words and profanity over and over. Which of us would be proud to have our mothers hear us talk like that? Surely none of us! God’s message to Christians is, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good . . .” (Ephesians 4:29). Not one of us should use filthy language, and whether or not Mom is around to hear us talking should have no bearing on the purity of our speech.
“Husbands, When You Are around Other Females, Conduct Yourself as If Your Wife Were Present.” If all married men would do that, there would be a whole lot less wandering eyes, a complete removal of intentional, inappropriate body contact, and an elimination of suggestive language. Regardless of whether or not our wives are within hearing or seeing distance, we ought to treat other females with courtesy (1 Peter 3:8), and loving our wives as we do ourselves (Ephesians 5:28), let us remember our pledge to treat and love our wives like we do no others. A number of years ago, a now-deceased gospel preacher described to me a fellow Christian whom we both knew. He said, “He has a bad memory.” When I gave him a puzzled look, he said, “He forgot to which woman he is married.” I then understood what he meant. The tragic truth is, our brother failed to conduct himself around other females in the fashion he would have if his wife were present, and that led to him having an extra-marital relationship that ruined his marriage.
Another idea for a sign: “Young People, Conduct Yourselves as If Your Parents Were Watching.” It just seems like a universal truth that kids act differently when they know Dad or Mom is watching or can hear them. Whether it is at school, out with friends, or at home temporarily unsupervised by parents, children need to honor and obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1-3). In some cases, they may feel like they “got away with” something, but in reality, wrong behavior is still wrong whether parents are aware of it taking place or not. The Bible says God will judge us even for “every secret thing,” whether good or bad (Ecclesiastes 12:14).
Consider one more possible sign: “Christians, Behave as If Your Church Leaders Were Standing next to You.” We are thankful to have shepherds who watch for our souls (Hebrews 13:17), but it is not their business to follow you and me around every day to make certain that we act like the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). If we would be ashamed to have our elders, deacons, or preachers see us involved in an activity, then what should that tell us? Most likely, we should not have been doing it in the first place, right?
The apostle Paul appealed to the saints in Philippi to be consistent in their conduct. Was Paul around to observe their behavior? It should not matter: “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit . . .” (Philippians 1:27).
Are my parents around? Is my spouse watching? Are my spiritual overseers aware of what I am doing? Regardless of how I respond to those questions, this statement from God about His all-knowing nature stands firm: “For My eyes are on all their ways: they are not hidden from my face, nor is their iniquity hidden from My eyes” (Jeremiah 16:17).
The Lord sees when sparrows fall, and He knows how many hairs each person has on his/her head (Matthew 10:29,30). Would it not be wise for each one of us to strive to make godly choices at all times? Humans sometimes see or hear us. God always does. Let us take heed to the admonition, “Ponder the path of your feet” (Proverbs 4:27).
— Roger D. Campbell