The Myth of Personal Privacy

by Joseph Franks

When watching a movie, it is not uncommon to see undercover agents utilizing bugs. By this, insects are not meant, but tiny recording devices meant to secretly transmit personal data to the FBI, CIA, or KGB. This is not so troubling while sitting in your private home watching such such intrusive and surreptitious espionage practices on the silver screen. However it becomes very disconcerting when one realizes art imitates life.

For example, in the United States’ war on terror, much debate is had over the National Security Administration’s ability to tap phones, read emails, scan texts, and collect personal data. Some who believe such a practice is incredibly beneficial to their own personal safety, they are in favor of granting the United States government such broad liberties. However, others who are somewhat skeptical of big brother and most passionate about their right to privacy, they interpret such practices as government overstepping their bounds. Not for a moment do they appreciate the idea of someone else reading their emails, listening to every word of their private conversations, and taking notes. For them, personal privacy is to high a price to pay for a slightly higher degree of personal safety.

Nobody likes a Peeping Tom. Needless to say, many were shocked this week when they learned certain Samsung televisions had the capacity to monitor and record conversations in their homes and offices. Individuals were highly offended over the possibility that their private communications in their dens, bedrooms, and boardrooms, could possibly have been recorded, stored, and sold to an interested third party. For some it was a matter of financial profit. For others it was a matter of personal reputation; how embarrassing and troubling it was that someone could listen to their every word.

So with this in mind, it appears the 1980’s rock band, Rockwell, was somewhat prophetic. Along with Michael Jackson they recorded the famous line, “I always feel like somebody’s watching me.”

However, for many of us, this was not the first time we heard such a phrase sung. For many of us, it was on our mother’s lap that we learned to sing, “Oh be careful little eyes what you see; oh be careful little feet where you go; oh be careful little mouth what you say; for the Father up above is looking down with love.” And right our mothers were, for the inspired Psalmist writes:

O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. (Psalm 139:1-12)

Friends, we don’t have to wonder whether or not someone is listening, reading, or taking notes. Perhaps the FBI, CIA, KGB, and NSA are reading this blog; maybe even the SS and the IRS. And who know, perhaps our keyboard clicks and our verbal words are being secretly stored by Facebook, Google, Apple, and Samsung. However, for sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt, without exception, all the time, there is One watching, reading, hearing, recording, and reviewing. Our Heavenly Father reads every email, observes every text, notes every social media post, sees every private message, witnesses every snapchat, watches every download, listens to every phone call, and hears every interpersonal dialogue.

Therefore, today when we hate, tear down, deride, mock, curse, gossip, slander, boast, dishonor, deceive, and lie, it is as if God were right there in the room with us. (He really is!)  When he sees and hears such wickedness, he is most displeased. Consequently, when he is most displeased, he is quite often ready to use his loving hand of discipline for his good and our improvement.

However, today let us end on a bright note. He is also present and alert when we sing, give thanks, supplicate, encourage, bless, instruct, admonish, praise, and speak the truth. When he sees and hears such communication, he is very pleased. So let us carefully watch the tongue; it is a restless evil. And let us guard not only our mouth, but our eyes, our feet, our hands, and our thoughts. As we are under constant surveillance today, let us see how many times we can bring a smile to our Father’s face as he sovereignly spies on us from a place we cannot see.

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