Tuesday, March 19

God knows.  I don’t.

Scripture: Joshua 3-6, 1 Corinthians 4

1 Corinthians 4:3–5 I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.

Observation

The Corinthian church was divided along party lines: “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter.”  There were many problems with this, and one was that they were making uninformed judgments about others.  So Paul encourages them to “judge nothing before the appointed time.”  

Paul said that he doesn’t even judge himself!  Even though his conscience is clear, that’s not enough.  Paul knew that we are masters of self-deception.  We are often not aware of our own motives.  We forget, we rationalize and excuse.  So a clear conscience doesn’t make us innocent.  Only God knows everything, including the secrets of our hearts.

If it is true that I can’t even know my own heart, how can I possibly know yours?  That’s the point.  It’s better to leave judgment in God’s hands; He is the only One who truly knows and can make an accurate judgment.  

God will “bring to light what is hidden in darkness.”  In other words, God knows all the secrets, all the back story, all the facts, all the things that are hidden to us.  God knows.  I don’t.  

God will “expose the motives of the heart.”  Recently I was asked by a friend what I thought another friend’s motives might be.  I knew about my motives in a situation like that, and was tempted to assign them to him.  But I caught myself, and told my friend that I didn’t know what this guy’s motives were.  I want to assume the best—positive attribution.  But I don’t know his motives.  God knows.  I don’t.

Application

Pretty simple: leave judgment to God.  Realize how much you don’t know and let go of judgment.  I’m terrible about “sizing people up” in my mind, making judgments when I know almost nothing.  God knows.  I don’t.  Let it go.

Prayer: Lord, you know how easy it is for me to slip into being judgmental.  Forgive me.  Remind me of how much I don’t know and help me let it go—leave judgment to You.