When You Think No One Else Is Watching

Throughout this summer, I’ve had the privilege of traipsing my two younger children back and forth to their summer camp. Along the way, we see lots of things on the drive. Usually, I’m focused on the road or thinking of dozens of things that I either need or want to do when I’ve completed the task of getting them there. So unless I have come to a stop at a light, I usually don’t notice every detail of what is where along the route.2013-07-22 14.50.12

One day this past week was a different story. I happened to see that there was a Planned Parenthood Office on one side of a main street that I drive. What had drawn my attention to this place being here was a small sign in front of the yard at the edge of the road. The sign read, “Because everyone should have a birthday.” It was one of those small tent stake signs that you typically see planted in the ground which usually advertises some service someone is offering like buying junk cars or homes for cash.

A little ways closer to the parking lot was a solitary man walking around the lot. Apparently his mindset was one where he would, as a lone voice crying in the wilderness, protest the latest outrage over what Planned Parenthood has been accused.

I don’t know if this man had intentionally gone there by himself or hoped to draw attention from the public. However, it was obvious he wanted to send a message to those people beyond the doors of that facility. What it did for me was bring up the question in my mind is “Does it matter what you do when you think no one is watching?”

Have you ever heard that old question that people ask, “Does a tree still make a sound if no one is around to hear it?” Well, in asking the question as to whether it matters what you do when you think no one is watching, this is to me along that same line. This issue is one that speaks to the integrity of a person. Are you going to be a person who does one thing publically and do something else in private?

When Jesus walked the earth, he told his disciples, “… nothing is concealed that won’t be revealed, and nothing hidden that won’t be made known and come to the light (Luke 8:17 HCSB).” It was heartbreaking to see the unfolding of the news this past week of people like Josh Duggar being exposed by the Ashley Madison hacking scandal. Almost as shocking was former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle taking a plea deal in connection to charges surrounding child pornography and other related charges, it really brings home this idea that it really does matter.

Some of the greatest minds, authors, and voices of leadership thought say that the mark of a great leader and person of influence is the person who is the same publically as they are in private. It is the mark of model character. The attempt to be one thing in private and another in public is often something that creates a strain on the individual. It is probably even harder on the relationships that the person desires to have with others he or she hopes to connect with.

Who you choose to be in public has to have its foundation in who you are when no one is watching. Even more importantly, what you do privately has to be the thing that prepares you for what you to publically.  Again, Jesus told his disciples, “A good man out of the treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks (Luke 6:45 NKJV).”

At the end of the day, you want to be a person who is the same behind closed doors as you are when the world is watching. While we know that ultimately God always knows who we are at all times, isn’t it a good feeling to be able to say that we are the same at all times? The reality is that there is always someone watching us. Many times it is in moments like these that we don’t think someone is watching that it has the greatest impact. Our community is one that honors and respects people who are authentic, honest, and genuine. Give them the best you by being the same, both when they are and when they are not watching.


QUESTION: How do you ensure that you are the same person when people are watching as when they are?


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