“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). He who created all things seen and unseen, is present to all things seen or unseen at all times. It is he who sustains all things in their being in every moment. Nothing can hide or be hidden from his gaze.
Human beings, of course, are the only creatures in God’s creation who can conceive of the idea of hiding from God. And there is a good reason for this. We are the only creatures who have been given an intellect with which we can come to know the difference between what is morally good and what is morally evil, along with a moral will and the freedom to choose to do what is right, good and true, or to refuse to go along with that knowledge for our own selfish reasons. When we sin we are, quite literally, choosing to deny the truth. And most of the time we know it.
But here is the kicker for us. We have also been given a conscience. God has written the instinct for the good into every human heart. And when we choose to go against that natural, God-given instinct, that is called sin. Our conscience works in two ways: before the choice to sin, we experience the inner struggle between knowing that a given choice is wrong, which is matched against, and often overwhelmed by, the immediate desire for some kind of perceived immediate pleasure, or gain. The second way conscience is experienced is after the chosen act is done. If we have chosen to remain true to God’s law, we experience the peace and the satisfaction of knowing that we did what was right, even if the result was suffering. If, on the other hand, we choose to go against our conscience, we experience the bitter, burning pangs of sorrow and guilt. Our greatest danger is in the fact that we can “numb” our consciences into silence by getting into the habit of sinning to the point that our conscience no longer stirs. When this happens our souls are in real danger of losing all hope of eternal happiness with the Lord in heaven. This is why a daily examination of conscience and prayerful reflection is a good habit to develop. It is for our own good to develop the habits of choosing the good and recognizing and turning away from the powerful temptations of immediate gratification.
It is in choosing to defy our consciences that we also fall into the folly of trying to hide our actions, and our guilts. We may be able to “pull the wool” over the eyes of those we have sinned against, temporarily, or even permanently, but God, who sees all and knows all, cannot be hidden from, not matter how we try. Our every action is before him and we will have to give an account for willful actions in defiance of his law on the Last Day.
All choices have their unavoidable and undeniable consequences. They come whether we want them or not. We are reminded here of the admonition in Deuteronomy: “I call on heaven and earth to record this day against you that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore, choose life that both you and your seed may live” (verse 19). Is it not wise, then, to choose life and blessing, and foolish to choose death and curse? If we choose life and blessing, there will be no reason to hide. If we choose to do God’s will, to live in accord with his divine law written into our hearts, we will never have to hide. But choose sin and no hiding will keep us from God’s eyes and his righteous judgement.
Lord, You know us and you love us. We know that we are always in your sight. Give us the grace of courage so that we may always choose you over all of the false attractions of this world. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!
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