I read this story in a book by Fr. Thomas Keating, a Trappist Monk. I can’t remember which of his books it was in so I’m taking a bit of a liberty re-telling it, but I’m sure that you will ‘get it’. It’s one of those stories that can turn your perceptions upside down, it stays with you for a while and becomes the lens through which you begin to ‘see’.
There was a man who tells the story of his childhood. He grew up in a very strict household where there were many restrictions and rules that had to be obeyed. One was that he should not eat anything between meals. His mother kept a cookie jar in the kitchen and though it was always a temptation, his mother would say, ‘you are not allowed to eat any of those cookies, and remember, God is always watching!’ So this boy grew up with the ‘remember, God is watching’ mentality.
Wanting to always please God, he followed all the rules. When he grew up he entered a religious order. One with lots of rules, the strictest and most austere order he could find. It was only many years later, after following all the rules, much discernment and many prayers that he had this revelation:
In prayer he realized that if God were watching that cookie jar all those years ago……when he was tempted to take a cookie God would have said…..’Go ahead, and take two….’
God is always watching……to criticize, to judge, to condemn…..or to love??? What is the motivation behind our relationship with God, fear or love? I think God desires our love.
I guess it all comes down to this….
Is our God a ‘GOTTCH YA’ God?
‘WELCOME BACK’ God?