“All the ways of a man are right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the motives.” Proverbs 16:2
For years growing up my brother, Jimmy and I would come home from school, eat a bowl of cereal, and watch Gilligan’s Island. From time to time the entire episode would be about something that happened on the island in the past.
Skipper would start telling about the event and all of a sudden we were back there; but it was all from Skipper’s perspective. He was in the middle; he was doing the right thing while those around him were doing questionable things. He was the hero; that’s how he remembered it.
The episode would return to the present, and then another character would start to give their version of the story (Ginger, the professor, sometimes Mr. Howell) and in their memory they were the hero. And then finally, Gilligan would start talking about it and we’d go back a third time. Where others’ versions had Gilligan at blame, Gilligan always had himself being somewhat heroic. Yes, bad things happened but he was actually part of the solution, not the main problem. The funny thing was we were never told what actually happened – only three different perspectives of the same event.
This is why Jesus told us not to judge. (Matthew 7:1) We experience life only from our own perspective and even our own motives are often hidden from us. When we feel others have wronged us, or betrayed us, it’s important to realize that that’s probably not how they see it. Instead of believing the worst and playing judge, we’re called to believe the best and let God be the judge. Where there has been definite sin, we’re called to forgive “as God, in Christ, has forgiven us.” (Ephesians 4:32)
All things are laid bare before Him to whom we will give an account. (Hebrews 4:13) God calls us to do what’s right in His eyes: “To do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God.” (Micah 6:8) It’s humanly natural to have mercy for ourselves, love justice for others, and walk in the pride of being a judge, instead of submitting to God as the only one able to judge rightly. The Holy Spirit wants to help us live differently. He wants us to apply justice to ourselves while giving mercy to others. This is part of what it means to walk humbly with God.