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by Jacob Ninan

"Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts" (Pr.21:2). This is the difficulty we come up against when we set out to judge ourselves. ‘Every man’ includes all of us, even born again children of God. It is not common that someone is willing to judge himself. Most of us are quite used to judging only the others. But when we are taught by the word of God that we ought not to judge others but that we must judge ourselves, some of us try to obey it, only to find that most often we find nothing wrong with us but only with the others! We find this ‘other law in our members’ that we cannot find any fault with us even when we are willing to face it (Ro.7:22,23). The fault is not with a lack of willingness, but that we are usually looking at the wrong place!

If we have been fortunate in having spiritual people around us who have been loving enough to warn us when we go astray, we would most probably have had the following experience. We judge ourselves ‘humbly’, only to come out with the realisation that we have not done or said anything wrong! In fact, we have even done things with a good motive. We think that perhaps these good people have misunderstood us! We can even prove that they have made certain definite mistakes in their judgment by quoting facts and figures!

This is a point at which many get offended, and even begin to accuse others that they have evil motives.

God weighs the heart and not so much words and deeds (Pr.21:2; 1Sa.16:7). If we are judging ourselves at the level of the words and deeds, it is only natural that we cannot find what God is judging us about.

But it is not God alone who assesses us by our heart! Have we not ourselves ‘sensed’ it when someone is upset with us even though he does not say so with his words? Suppose we were to ask him why he is upset with us, is it not possible for him to ‘prove’ that he never said or did anything wrong and that we are accusing him falsely? In the same way, we can sense it when someone says something to impress others, is high-minded, is not quite telling the truth, etc. We get a certain smell from his spirit. Everyone can recognise such smells to more or less extent. The more one has judged himself and become spiritual, the more sensitive he is to the spirit in the others. A godly man can get the smell from quite a distance away! God is so totally accurate in this sense of smell that He does not have to look at the words or actions in order to decide what kind of persons we are!

Even godly men are not God. So it is natural that they do not know all the facts about others or some incident others are involved in. So they make mistakes about this or that word or action that someone said or did. But it turns out many times that their sense of smell is more reliable than their ears and eyes (Is.11:3). So they generally come to the right conclusion about the others even if they get some of the facts wrong!

It is not enough to say that we have done things with a good motive, because our spirit can be wrong even then. For example, it is quite possible for us to try to do something good with a high minded attitude, to give advice with an attitude of an expert, to testify ‘for the glory of God’ with a boastful spirit, etc.

Even when we are not dealing with godly men, it happens many times that others sense something wrong in us when we feel that we have not done or said anything wrong. But if we want to judge ourselves rightly, we must look at our heart. That is not easy at all unless we have become mature by constant exercise of our spirit (He.5:14). The best thing for us to do is to seek God for light on ourselves. He is the one who can bring hidden things to light (1Co.4:5). In His light we can see clearly (Ps.36:9), and then alone can we be purified.

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