We talk a great deal in this country about privacy or the invasion of privacy. We value our privacy. We build privacy fences. We close the curtains so people can’t see in our houses. Yet, we live in a day when it seems “Big Brother” is watching us.
With the constant growth of the technology and communication world, it’s hard to find a time or place where you can’t be interrupted or disturbed. Cell phones, email, and the Internet make it seem like we are always on line, on call, or in the spotlight. Whatever happened to the Sabbath? Don’t we all need one day a week free from the computer and cell phones?
Now we have street smart phones that can track us or our cars. Our purchases can be tracked on the Internet by other companies. Information about our likes and dislikes is for sale by most of the businesses on the Web. Companies like Wal-Mart, are working towards tiny radio tags on merchandise that would enable them to trace merchandise from the warehouse to the store shelf.
Chips are already in use that are tied to the Global Positioning System. You can get On Star help in your car. Many drivers now use the GPS system to get directions. Where they once relied on a map that was impossible to fold, now they just push a button.
You can discover your exact position on the golf course by means of satellite and a GPS system. My wife may not know where I am on the course, but some satellite thousands of miles in space does. Now, if they could just find that ball I hit in the rough….
This kind of technology can be a blessing and a curse. The blessing would be when someone uses their cell phone to make a 911 call. Such technology saves lives. The full effect of the curse is unknown. But, with technology comes a deterioration of privacy. Some say this technology will inevitably lead to data that a detective or divorce attorney will be able to demand in court as evidence. Who knows.
Farmers already use chips to identify livestock and pet owners tag their pets. According to U.S. News and World Report, one company is selling tracking chips as implants for humans. The implications are frightening. In fact, the company’s prototype includes a global positioning chip and could be tracked remotely.
Imagine, wherever you go, whatever you say over your phone, could be monitored. You could be traced, scanned, tagged, labeled, surveyed, and possibly never know it. Kind of sounds like those old words in the Bible about the Mark of the Beast. The more progress we make, the more threats we find to our privacy.
On the other hand, is there really such a thing as privacy? Not really. God hears and knows everything. He knows every idle word and what we are thinking. He sees everything we do, everywhere we go, and everything we read. He knows what’s going on with all five plus billion people in the world at every waking moment.
This is why we must guard our hearts. It’s easy to compartmentalize our lives. It’s tempting to think of our lives in segments and compartments rather than as a whole. God made us; body, soul and spirit. What affects one area, affects the other. It is dangerous for any or all of us to think that there is any area of our lives where God doesn’t know or doesn’t care.
All of us have dealt with temptations in private. Television and movies invade our lives and challenge our faith…the book in a store where we don’t see anyone we know…the magazine behind the counter…the website or email that gets through the filter on our computer. None of us are immune. We all need to keep a guard on our hearts, eyes, and mind. We’re all under attack; we have to keep our guard up.
All of us have temptations to say things we wouldn’t want repeated. We share, ‘in confidence’ but it rarely stays there. We are critical of another person, and it gets back to them. We lose our temper and anger spills out. We’re cut off in traffic and we respond with some gesture or word we wouldn’t want our kids to hear. The temptation is real, daily and potentially deadly.
The reality is, God is always there. He sees and hears it all. Nothing gets by Him. We are told in Scripture to guard our hearts, watch our tongues and renew our minds. God’s Word teaches us that gossip, slander, backbiting, murmuring are sins. Not only that, God’s Word gives us story after story of the consequences of such misuse of the tongue.
Where we go, what we do, what we say, it’s all done before a holy God. Our flesh can come up to bite us. Our words can come back to haunt us. Our choices can impact us in ways we never dreamed.
That’s why we need to die daily, walk in the Spirit and plead the blood of Jesus. We are all sinners saved by grace. We need to be renewed. We need grace and mercy. The last thing any of us should want is justice – getting what we deserve.
I am reminding myself that, like David, I’m a sinner. My sin is first and foremost against God. I’m guilty. I have to one day give an account of what I’ve done to the Lord God of heaven. That’s frightening. It seems I have more that I mess up than I straighten out. I am reminded that the closer you get to God, the more real even the slightest sin becomes.
Screaming for my rights, demanding my way, pointing fingers and deflecting blame are all signs of people who haven’t realized God is watching. He is the only true Judge. Surely, like David, we need to come before God and ask Him for the cleansing power of forgiveness. We need to watch and pray or we will stumble and fall. We must be diligent in season and out of season.
If we could just see our sin as sin, rather than justifying it, we would come closer to Christlikeness. It’s a battle. The flesh dies hard. We must die daily, take up the cross daily and surrender to Lordship daily. Stop and read Psalm 51 and 1 John 1 right now. God knows the secrets of the heart – open your heart to Him right now. He wants to take our public and private sins and put them under the blood. Seek Him and find a loving Father who longs to see His children walk in an abiding relationship.
© Michael Catt, 2005.
Michael served as the President of the Large Church Roundtable, the Southern Baptist Convention as an IMB Trustee, President of the Georgia Baptist Convention’s Preaching Conference, Vice President of the Georgia Baptist Convention, and President of the 2008 Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference. He has spoken at conferences, colleges, seminaries, rallies, camps, NBA and college chapel services, well as The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove. Michael is the recipient of The Martin Luther King Award, The MLK Unity Award, and a Georgia Senate Resolution in recognition of his work in the community and in racial reconciliation.
Michael and his wife, Terri, have two grown daughters, Erin and Hayley.