5/3/17 Eduardo about 35
I often use the Ten Commandments to help people see the ways in which they have broken God's laws and why we all need the forgiveness found only in Jesus. The commandments are strict to begin with, but as Jesus taught them they became even stricter. Why is that? A middle aged father named Eduardo found a big clue in a conversation outside a Starbucks recently.
I was using some of the commandments as examples and explaining that adultery is wrong, but it is also sinful simply to look with lust, as Jesus said in Matthew 5: "But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." At first Eduardo dismissed giving in to this temptation as unavoidable, just a part of human nature. But as we talked about it he began to see that when we look with lust at others, we are also being watched ourselves. First and foremost, everything we do is done in God's sight - nothing is hidden. God is holy, and our decision to entertain lustful thoughts is detestable in His sight.
But Eduardo also seemed deeply affected to realize that other eyes were also watching him. His own children could see his lingering looks at other women besides their mother. His sons would grow up into their hormone-laden years with the example their own father had set for them, for better or for worse. There is no victimless crime. We are all being watched, and we are all influencing other lives.
God is "strict" because He is perfect and holy. Lustful thoughts are morally wrong simply because God declares them so. But He is also strict because He knows the damage our "harmless" sins will lead to in the future. He cares how we relate to Himself, and he also cares how we relate to one another. He cares how we influence others, especially the young people in our lives, so his word says that those who teach will be held to a higher standard. Even Moses was not exempt as he was punished for a relatively minor offense.
All of us are "teachers" in some way, especially for the next generation. Those of us who find forgiveness in Christ are at the same time held to a higher standard ourselves, for we represent our heavenly Father and as Christians we bear His name. What father doesn't discipline his children? Let's be holy, as our heavenly Father is holy, even if we forget that someone is watching.