judge

An Exposed Heart

If Sheol and Abaddon lie open in front of the Lord

how much more the human heart! (Proverbs 15:11 GW)

(Context—Proverbs 15:8-19 GW)


I’ve often wondered why people subject themselves to the public scrutiny of reality shows. Is it just for the money? Much of the time, some not-so glamorous moments in people’s lives are laid out for all to see. That is, all who watch.

As you can probably tell, I’m not a big fan of reality shows. The few times I’ve endured watching them for a while, I find myself cringing and shaking my head at what I see.

I don’t like having my life exposed for everyone to see. People are too quick to draw their own conclusions—often jumping to unfounded judgments of reasons and motives.

Having a somewhat public life as a pastor and overseas missionary, I’ve experienced some unwanted exposure of my life and endured some unfair and unwarranted criticism and condemnation.

It’s part of the territory for those roles in ministry but it can still be difficult to endure. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion but it doesn’t mean those opinions are right or true or valid.

Here’s what I’ve learned over the years—there’s always more to the story. More importantly, whenever anyone of us sits in judgment of others, we’re sitting in a seat that doesn’t belong to us. It belongs to the only True and Righteous Judge—God.

There’s not one person on earth who hasn’t sat in judgment on another. All of us do it in some way and to some degree.

We look askance at people for what they wear or don’t wear. How they talk or look or act. People judge each other for what they eat or don’t eat, the music they like or don’t like, their politics, favorite sports team, and what they watch or won’t watch on TV.

What catches my attention about all this is how exposed my heart is before God. Nothing is hidden from Him. Nothing.

It’s not just my heart that’s exposed to God, it’s every human heart. Yours and mine.

Several places in the New Testament scriptures, including the words of Jesus in the Gospels, tell us there will be a judgment to come of all people at the end of the age. None of us now when that will be exactly but it is certain.

Even Sheol and Abaddon—death and destruction—are not hidden from God. After all, He is eternal.

You won’t be seeing me in any reality shows any time soon—not if I have anything to say about it! But even if my life isn’t displayed for all to see, I know the Lord sees everything in my heart—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

This humbles me when I consider it. The psalmist David says this eloquently in Psalm 139—here’s an excerpt—

You alone know when I sit down and when I get up. You read my thoughts from far away. You watch me when I travel and when I rest. You are familiar with all my ways.

Even before there is a ⌊single⌋ word on my tongue, you know all about it, Lord. You are all around me—in front of me and in back of me. (Psa 139:2-5 GW)

I try to keep this awareness fresh in my mind. When I remember my heart is exposed before God, it helps me avoid sliding into any judgment seat. And when I find myself sitting in His seat, I sense God’s Spirit whispering to my heart that I’m not where I ought to be.

Reflection—

All of us have judged someone in some way and to some degree. Whenever we do, we’re sitting in a seat that doesn’t belong to us. It belongs to the only True and Righteous Judge—God.

Prayer Focus—

Join me as I daily, even moment by moment, ask God to keep me from judging others and asking Him to forgive me when I do.

©Word-Strong_2018


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A Time for Judgment

People have a penchant for judgment. This is true worldwide. We are quick to judge or condemn someone as guilty or wrong. You and me, we all do it at some point.

We look for someone or something to blame when something goes wrong. We are especially quick to accuse or find fault with those who disagree with us or have a different view of things.

Yet, when we are accused, blamed, or condemned, we're quick to claim our own innocence or at least justify ourselves in some way. When our wrong becomes clear, we'll quickly plead for mercy. And yet, we have a hard time extending mercy and forgiveness to those who seek it.

Completely Truthful

Honesty in prayer is essential. God values it. He honors it. But we have a hard time doing it.

By default, we put up a deceptive front. We justify ourselves before we get honest, genuinely honest. It's just the way we are.

This prayerful psalm of King David came after he was confronted by Nathan the prophet. The story is found in 2 Samuel 12:1-15.

A Warning and a Blessing

We all make judgment calls. No one wants to be judged and I doubt anyone wants to be known as a judgmental person. But there are times when a judgment call is appropriate.

When it is obvious that certain people are harmful and cause problems, it's appropriate to warn others about them. This is what Paul does here, but notice it's not done with vindictiveness or malice. This is the responsibility of a leader, especially a pastor or elder in the church.

Slander is not okay, but just as a parent warns a child about some danger or dangerous person, pastoral leaders need to warn those under their care.