When I was a teenager, my mom used to tell me that I could use her as an excuse anytime I might find myself in a socially compromising situation. The phrase was along the lines of,
“ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Do you know how many ways my mom will annihilate me if/when she finds out? Do you have any idea how many synonyms my dad knows for reprimand? I suppose you WANT me to be grounded until graduation!!”
You get the idea. And it was not an unworthy one. Fortunately, I don’t recall ever having to use it, but the concept of loving parental authority over me was more protective that I realized at the time.
Similarly, when I first started as a school nurse, I was over and/or included in five distinct districts throughout our entire county. I traveled every day, knew people all over, including law enforcement, district supervisors, teachers, parents….and they knew me.
I.e., I had eyes everywhere. And I tended to let my children’s teachers be aware that I wanted “to know”.
Yes, I obey your commandments and laws
because you know everything I do.
I think one of the common misconceptions that teenagers throw at their embattled parents is the presumably damning comment, “you don’t trust me”. To which the correct answer may be, “I trust you to the level of your age and experience,” with the corollary, “I don’t trust those around you whom you don’t even know are there.”
One of the jobs of parenting is to dole out appropriate freedom while at the same time making it really tough for them to mess up. Having that internal restraint, whether it’s knowing that the folks at home are waiting up for the door knob to turn, or that mom has more eyes than simply in the back of her head, is not a bad thing for a teenager to contemplate.
But neither is it for us. As a child of the King, obviously my motivation for obedience to my loving heavenly Father needs to mature beyond this concept, but let’s face it, knowing the hammer could fall is beneficial to add to the tool chest of spiritual stimuli. Even Joseph may have been thinking this when he used it with Potipher’s wayward wife, “how can I do this thing and sin against my God?!”
Our God is a good, good Father. His knowledge of us, inwardly and outwardly, is beyond what we even know of ourselves. He “knows our thoughts from afar”, and there is nowhere I can go from His presence, (Psalm 139). Restrictive? No more than a train on its designed railroad tracks or the earth in its orbit.
Safe for me, and all those around me.
Psalm 119:168 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.