What is it about human nature that causes us to question others’ motives and actions? Often, my initial reaction to hearing about something good someone else is doing is skepticism. It’s not that I doubt it’s possible. I KNOW God is capable. I think it’s more because:
1. It’s not MY experience.
OR (and this one hurts me)
2. It wasn’t my idea and I’m not receiving credit.
We’re all too familiar with our own intentions, faults and weaknesses. The suspicions we experience when evaluating another’s motives/actions are, more likely than not, due to the awareness of our own false motives and the resulting questions in our own character. We know when we’re doing something out of pure, selfless intention and when we’re looking out for number one. We may have even grown to be fine with the latter part of the last statement. However, we’re not as quick to rubber stamp the same in others.
Fortunately, God doesn’t evaluate our salvation based on our own or anyone else’s merit. We’re all held to the same standard – in the light of His glory and grace. In the account of the Jerusalem Council, Peter says the following of the newly-converted Gentiles being debated before the apostles and elders:
7 And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. 8 And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, 9 and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. 10 Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11 But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.” Acts 15:7-11 English Standard Version (ESV)
This rotten flesh has made it difficult to completely embrace even the sacred things of this world without a healthy application of wisdom and discernment. And, later in the passage, James reminds them the Christian life is not without accountability. (Acts 15:19 ESV) However, we’d all be better off if we’d measure people by God’s standard rather than our own.
NOTE: These ideas and thoughts I’ve penned in the past (and more frequently as of late) are the result of my own time in the Word and prayer. It helps me to process what I’ve been reading/hearing when I have to write it down and know I’ll be accountable for the results. I’m not certain how long or how frequently I’ll be able to keep it up but would be glad to know if it’s benefiting you in any way. Feel free to pass them along or comment.