But today, and really for the last several days, I’ve been thinking about something very specific. I’ve been thinking about our hearts. Recent events in the news have got most people I know riled up – and taking sides. I have zero interest in going in to details here, but lets just say that everyone I know has an opinion on something about which only one human man knows the total truth.
Our country’s judicial system sometimes tasks us with the seemingly impossible job of determining someone’s motives. What was going on in their mind and their heart when they committed a certain act. I am extremely grateful I’ve never been on a jury, especially one that is supposed to make a decision about a violent and deadly act. It feels like such a heavy weight. How can any of us know for sure what is in a man’s heart? Should we assume that anyone who commits an act that hurts someone else has evil in their heart at the time? Or do we give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that things got out of control, or that there were extenuating circumstances?
Even God at one point decided that the whole lot of humans were just rotten and he needed to clean the slate.
5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved [e]in His heart. 7 The Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the [f]sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.” Genesis 6:5-7
We obviously got a second chance on things, thankfully. But there is still so much evil in the world. And while I do appreciate that we have laws and a process for attempting to punish those who break them, there’s just no way we can ever know what is in the heart of our fellow man. For some of us that is a really hard pill to swallow. If we are hurt by someone or we feel that something is unjust, we are sure that if we can prove that person is evil, and punish them, we will somehow be vindicated. Things will be right. If only.
The truth is that none of us will ever be able to know the heart of another man. While I can’t say that this comes as a relief to me, I will say that it seems to even the eternal playing field. If someone “gets away” with something in the framework of good and evil here on earth, they will face the same judgment as you and I. Going along with that, they have the same opportunity for salvation as the rest of us. Which is an even HARDER pill to swallow! But it is how God freed us.
I’m going to try and bring these ideas up the next time I hear people debating about the hot topic of the day. I think debate is good, but it seems we can sometimes go too far in our quest to uncover that which is ultimately known only to God.
“God, who knows the heart, showed that He accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as He did to us” (Acts 15:8).
“For the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts” (1 Chronicles 28:9).
“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).