He knows if you’ve been bad or good so be good for goodness sake! How many times do we tell this to our children during the Christmas season hoping that it will motivate our children to be good. There is a goal Christmas morning do you want gifts, your reward for good behavior, or do you want coal, your punishment for bad behavior? Our children easily recognize the carrot in front of them for this time honored tradition. It is very simple, black and white and that is how children like most situations, simple to understand and fair for all!
How many of us feel that same way about God. He is omnipresent- in all places at once- watching us, observing our choices and actions. Will He see us doing the bad things like the insults under our breath about that girl at work that drives us completely mad? Does He see us when were sleeping and know when were awake? Does He know when we have been really good and kind to others, we try to make sure He knows it. Many of us believe in the God with the long white beard… sitting on his royal throne… up in the clouds.. with His large book making a list and checking it twice.. Because one day He will come to town to judge us and make that decision based on our behavior. Will we have the gift of the afterlife, or will He go with the coal and send us straight to hell. Only black and white, no real gray exists in this picture. All is simple, straightforward, understandable and fair. Which makes it very easy to judge the actions of those around us. Don’t we just know who is going to Heaven and who is going to Hell. Well of course we do, we have the criteria and we know who is on His list!
Many of us were raised with that image of God, those guidelines from Church, regardless of the religion, that if you follow those strict rules and adhere to the letter of the documents your fate was safe, absolutely no gray existed.
Is that really how you want your relationship with God to be for all eternity? That God is this authority figure that puts you on a list and judges you for all you have done but does not try to understand you? I suppose that is a relationship but it is more parent child and it is useful in that make up. However, as we age and mature shouldn’t our faith do the same as well? As a child it works, it makes sense and it gets the job done. As an adult our mentality changes about everything in life we see the gray and begin to understand you can not judge, there are too many factors that have not been accounted for, we have not walked in their shoes.
The relationship I have with God is always changing a bit as I age and take on different stages of my life. God is merciful and loving, kind and understanding. Instead of wanting to judge for judging sake He desires for me to be good so that He can be a part of my existence. He does not want to see me fail and be on the naughty list. He lifts me up when I fall and make the wrong choices, He forgives me and in my mind I can hear Him when I make the wrong choice saying “why are you doing this, just think it through before you do it.” God loves me unconditionally and guides me to do good not for a reward at the end of this life but because goodness is what He created mankind for. I believe God created each of us for a reason, a specific purpose that is unique to each person but overall He created us to bring His love to our lives and to become one with Him again. My image of God is not up in the clouds looking down on me. My image of God is a spirit that embraces me, that whispers into my thoughts, that lifts me when I cannot walk, that won’t let go when I feel abandoned, that provides a safe and tender place to fall. He has no book of judgement only love, understanding and wisdom to guide me back to Him.
Yes, He knows when you’ve been bad or good but be good for goodness sake, not to avoid the coal but to mature in your faith and grow closer to becoming one with God.