Judging Motive

Laughing with her husband arm-in-arm, she seemed to waltz across the floor, red heels and curled highlights. Who wears that to the doctor’s office, let alone exudes such boisterous distraction? [I bet she takes a hundred selfies a week and spends more money on jewelry and manicures a month than I have in the last decade. Doesn’t she know people are sick…worried…distracted? The hubris!]

She starts talking to the nurse who follows them down the hallway back to the waiting room where I fidget. [I imagine her name is Karen].

“Thank you so much for all the compassionate care you’ve given me. I couldn’t have walked this rough road without you all. But I knew. I just sensed that today was going to bring good news. That’s why I wore my lucky shoes. I just…” She couldn’t finish.

The elderly nurse squeezed her arm, “You’ve been through hell and back, but you are coming out the other side of this. Before you know it, your hair will grow back and you’ll be jogging again.”

[Wait, her hair wasn’t real?]

Her husband kissed his wife’s cheek and then wiped a tear away. He shook the nurse’s hand and I thought he might kiss her too, but he didn’t. As the couple pushed the elevator button across the room, I sagged in my seat. [Wow, did I get her story wrong. What kind of misjudgments did I make every single day about people I didn’t even know?] –modified excerpt from “Red Heel” by Kristin Hanley

Not only do our “assumicides” (to borrow a term from Beth McCord) get us into trouble with other people, but our faithless doubts mess over our connection with God too.

Going all the way back to the Garden of Eden, the first sin started when woman was willing to judge God’s heart and motives. For Satan’s question about what God said in Genesis 3:1 wasn’t about God’s syntax but rather about God’s intent towards His creation. Satan was giving Eve permission to pridefully judge God’s heart toward her.

How many times have I done the same, asking questions and making false assumptions, “Does God really care for me? Is He holding out on me? Can He be trusted with the best for me?”

“In this case, the serpent isn’t asking an honest question and isn’t seeking an honest answer [incidentally, neither are we]. He wants, instead, to awaken humanity’s desire to ‘demonstrate their own excellent grasp of God’s intentions'” (quote within quotes of Matthew Boulton’s “God Against Religion” in “Recapturing the Wonder” by Mike Cosper).

And our response to this decision should be a freaked-out YIKES! Who am I to question who God is, why He does what He does or determine that my perspective on ‘good’ and ‘loving’ and ‘trustworthy’ is altogether higher and better.

God is God. His ways are beyond reproach. He doesn’t rewrite His definitions (and neither do we). He is love and understands and enacts it perfectly. He is good and there is no evil or darkness in Him. Our understanding is limited, shadowed, and marred by our prideful sin.

“But the challenge is always this: Are men and women going to allow the Word of God to sit in judgment on their puny minds, or are they going to make their puny minds the judges of the Word of God?”- Alistair Begg

So, the next time I am tempted to judge someone’s outside image, may I remember that I don’t know their whole story.

The next time I am tempted to question God’s actions, may I remind myself (and you can remind me too) that His heart toward me is compassionate and merciful and true. Whatever comes my way has been filtered through His love and His big, beautiful story.

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