I Samuel 16:7: “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
Mike works at lot of overtime. One explanation could be that he is a dedicated employee and has a strong work ethic. However, a different reason could be that Mike is lazy and would rather sit in his office shuffling papers but not really being productive so that his wife is left doing the household chores and raising their children.
The same scenario can have two very different motives, but to the casual observer, each reason has the same outward appearance.
Isn’t that how life works? Staying late at work can make you the hero in the office, but you are really trying to get out of mowing the grass at home. When you joke with your circle of friends that your husband doesn’t know which end of the screwdriver to use it can seem funny, when in reality you are trying to get back at him for not taking out the trash last night. How about assigning your children extra chores around the house with the excuse that you are teaching them responsibility when honestly you just hate vacuuming.
It’s easy to manipulate people regarding your motive since the same action can look very different when the tone of your voice or a facial expression is tweaked. However, even though people are easily swayed, God can never be deceived. God knows our heart and the real reason behind our actions.
It’s important to line up the reasons we do things with what we are doing. God would rather we say no to serving on the PTA for the seventh year in a row than to lie and say our great grandmother is sick, and “going to die soon. ” He would also rather we honestly tell our kids, “I hate vacuuming – let’s negotiate,” instead of pretending we are teaching responsibility.
The more authentic and honest we are with ourselves, the easier it is to be honest with others. By taking that approach, we won’t always get what we want, but we can at least close our eyes at night with the assurance that we didn’t lie, we didn’t try to make ourselves look better than we really are, and when we are complimented, it’s for something we really did, not what someone thought we did. Knowing that God is pleased that my actions and my intent line up is the best feeling of all!