In God’s Eyes
Yael Eckstein | August 12, 2020
Be careful to obey all these regulations I am giving you, so that it may always go well with you and your children after you, because you will be doing what is good and right in the eyes of the LORD your God. — Deuteronomy 12:28
Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Re’eh, which means “see,” from Deuteronomy 11:26–16:17.
One of the most challenging things about raising teens — and I have two of them — is teaching them to be themselves and stay true to their values. Experts say that teenagers are especially prone to caring about what others think of them, especially their friends. But if we are to raise proud, strong men and women of faith, we must teach our children to overcome the desire to fit in and nourish their capacity to stand up for what they believe in. Most importantly, we need to model this kind of behavior by living lives true to our values and speaking up for what’s right.
In this week’s reading, Moses tells the children of Israel that if they obey God’s commands, life will be good for them “because you will be doing what is good and right in the eyes of the LORD your God.” This phrase teaches us that we must live our lives according to what God will think of us, as opposed to what other people may. There will be times in life when doing the right thing won’t be popular and doing the popular thing won’t be right. Regardless, we need to do “what is good and right in the eyes of the LORD…”
We live in a society where people care immensely about what others think of them. Whether we realize it or not, the things we say, the clothing we wear, and the places we shop are all greatly influenced by how other people will perceive us. While it’s normal and natural to want to fit in, there is also a time and place for standing out. It’s far more important to “fit in” with God and be cast aside by the people around us then to fit in with everyone around us and be cast away by God!
Ultimately, the only approval we ought to seek is God’s. When we make God our only source of approval, we eliminate the need to impress others and free ourselves to live our best, most godly lives.
What encouragement would you give yourself and others when in a situation where your values and beliefs conflict with those around you? Share your thoughts in the comment section.