Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts.
Proverbs 21:2 (NASB)
When I was in high school, I worked for my father in the summer. He had a small civil engineering firm. I would work with his land surveyors. One day when I was working out in the field, it began to rain, so we packed up the electronic equipment and went to grab lunch. We made our way to a pizza joint in the area and waited out the rain eating pizza and playing video games. After about an hour the rain subsided and the sun came out. I thought it was about time to head back out, but my crew chief said it could start raining again any time. It really wouldn't be any use to get all the way back out into the field and set up the equipment just to have it start raining again, so we should just stay there and play video games a little while longer, he reasoned. I knew that was an excuse to play video games, but I rationalized that he was in charge and I really didn't have the right to disagree with him. I didn't want to seem like the kiss-up boss' son. And who knows? He might be right, I thought. It really could start raining again any time. So we played Ms. Pac-Man a little while longer. Rationalizations like this sound good in your head, but when your father walks through the door of a pizza joint and sees you playing video games when you should be out working, you suddenly realize how faulty they are. Needless to say I was more than a little embarrassed, and I imagine my crew chief was too.
We all make excuses to do what we want to do. We all rationalize our behavior. We find reasons to think that what we want to do is the right thing to do or at least that it's okay for us to do. But the truth is that God isn't going to judge us by our excuses. He will judge us by our hearts. Proverbs 21:2 tells us that "Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts." The Lord will look past our excuses and our rationalizations and He will look at what really motivated our behavior: our heart. The truth is that my excuses for staying and playing video games that day were just ways of explaining away my behavior. They weren't the real reason I stayed. I stayed because I would rather play video games than go work in the hot sun. I would rather play video games than stand up to my crew chief.
There will come a day when our heavenly Father will surprise you without warning just like my father did on that day. He will enter into judgment on that day against the whole world. And He will judge you for everything you have ever done. Most of us are all too eager to explain away our sin and make excuses for ourselves; but on that day our excuses will not matter. God isn't going to judge you based on the ingenuity of your excuses. He is going to weigh your heart. He will look at your intentions, what you loved and why you actually did what you did. He will look at the true motives behind your behavior. So resist the urge to explain away your bad temper, your filthy language, your tendency to gossip, your occasional drunken frolic, or your sexual activity outside of marriage. Focus today on doing what is right in God's eyes based on what His Word says instead of doing what is right in your own eyes. Ask God to open your eyes today so you can see the sin in your life that you have excused for too long, then repent and ask Him for forgiveness and freedom from that sin based on His Son's death and resurrection.
For further reading...
- Proverbs 16:2- Do you think this proverb is restating the same point as Prov. 21:2, or is there some difference?
- Judges 21:25 & 2:11-23- The book of judges reveals a sad cycle of sin that happens when men do what is right in their own eyes. The people of Israel would turn away from God into idolatry until God punished them by means of oppression from a foreign nation. Finally, Israel would repent and God would send a judge to deliver them. Then in time, Israel would turn away from God into idolatry again, and the cycle would repeat.