It is easy to behave uprightly and to present the best version of ourselves when we are around others. From the way we are dressed, to the things we say and the way we behave, we have been taught to conduct ourselves in a certain manner so as to meet a certain level of moral standard. After all, failing to behave in an acceptable manner is to risk being ostracised and judged for poor mannerisms.

But what about the times when no one is watching? Do we still conduct ourselves uprightly?

Consider this: What would you do if you found that the service staff at a restaurant has missed out on an item in your bill? Would you fess up and get the bill corrected? Or would you choose to instead, remain silent and receive it as ‘a gift from the above’? What about a cashier who has given you more change than should be given to you? Would you return the excess to him/her?

There are so many instances in our daily life that put us at the crossroads of having to choose between honesty and dishonesty, truth and deception, a moral response and an immoral one. Yet more often than not, we fail to uphold the righteous standards that we have been taught to live by, especially when others are not watching. Why is this so? Could it be that the main motivation behind our moral responses thus far has been the desire to be free from judgement while deep down, we don’t actually believe that a life of integrity and consideration for others is one that should be valued?

When our moral standards stem from the desire to get into the good books of others and not from a deeper desire to please the Lord, then that is when our behaviour wavers according to the presence and response of those around us.

But in 1 Samuel 16:7, we read that the Lord says to Samuel, “For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Indeed, He looks at our heart – the very depths of it – even when no one else is watching. If we truly desire to please Him, then that is to seek to live a life of integrity at all times. It is to love, serve, and honour our neighbour as ourselves.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-40

So let us seek to please the Lord in all that we do, even when no one is watching. May we in turn, become men and women of integrity who are upright in heart. Let us be the same person no matter where we are and who we are (or are not) with.

Sharleen Chia