I was having lunch with friends the other day and we were arguing (softly) over the motives of a mutual acquaintance who was acting outrageously. Some felt ready to write this person off. “Wait” someone said, “Maybe in his own mind, he is completely justified in his behavior.” “Not possible” felt someone else, “He’s simply selfish.” I’ve been mulling it over ever since.
Today, as I was looking up a scripture for another purpose, this one caught my eye; “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes but the Lord weighs the spirits” (Proverbs 16:2). Bingo, there it is and I was reminded of how we justify all of our own behaviors but hold other people’s feet to the fire. I’ve done it a thousand times myself. I always have an excuse for why I did everything. I rarely tolerate others’.
Ah, but the Lord weighs the spirit. None of our real motives escape His notice. He sees down to the bottom of things. This is both comforting and disconcerting. It’s comforting to know “those others” aren’t really getting away with anything but it’s disconcerting to realize that neither am I.
Maybe the time I’ve wasted second guessing other people’s motives would be better spent trying to be honest with myself and God. When the Lord weighs my spirit, it is, after all, the only one that is going to count.