When I climb the stairs in our house to check on our kids, I usually don’t announce myself. It’s not that i want to catch them doing something they shouldn’t be doing. I would just as soon catch them doing something they should be doing.
In fact, I would prefer the latter.
But I still show up unannounced. And regularly, I surprise them.
And sometimes, they are (or one of them is) doing something they wouldn’t be doing if they knew I was watching.
I recalled one time, having just surprised them, that children learn much of their understanding and ideas of who God is and what God is like from their early relationship with their parents.
Which has made me reconsider my stealthy approaches.
I don’t want to give my children the idea either that God is sneaky or that God operates by surveillance. These seem to me to be training them to live by shame, or the avoidance of shame.
I don’t get the impression that this is God’s primary posture towards us. In fact, in Genesis 3, right after the incident with the serpent and the fruit, God is walking in the garden, we are told.
NOT sneaking up on the humans.
And the man and women hear God coming and hide.
God calls out to them, giving them the opportunity to approach God, to come to God, to enter a conversation with God. And God does NOT shame them.
I’m going to be more careful abotu how I approach my children.