Thursday, August 08, 2013

The Danger of Judging Motives

Can you really know what someone else's motive are?  You can guess.  You can even make what appears to be an educated guess.  But can you really know for sure?  Can you be 100% confident in someone else's motives?  Can you?  Unless you are an omniscient God who knows everything, I doubt that you can.  Yet, unfortunately, we do it in the church all the time.  We judge people's motives and then state our conclusions as facts when we really can't know for sure.  How often do we hear people say the following about a pastor or ministry leader's motives:

"He's just being showy!"
"He's just trying to build his own empire!"
"All he's really interested in is numbers!"

Seriously, how can you be 100% sure that he's trying to be "showy?"  How can you be 100% sure that he's trying to "build his own empire?"  How can you be 100% sure that he's only "interested in numbers?"  Isn't it possible that he's genuinely worshipping the Lord from a pure yet expressive heart and you have wrongly concluded that he's being "showy?"  Isn't possible that his passion really is to see the church reach as many people as possible so they can know Christ and spend eternity in heaven, and you have wrongly concluded that he's only about "trying to build his own empire" or that he "is only interested in numbers?"

I have seen it happen too many times in the church.  Dissension and disunity creep into a growing and vibrant church because people begin to do what they simply cannot do accurately - judge other people's motives.  They then share their conclusions with others as if they are provable facts and the sad result is that lives get ruined, people get hurt, and the church of Jesus Christ suffers.  The Apostle Paul put it this way in 1 Corinthians 4:5:

"Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God."

There will come a day when God will properly judge, not just our actions, but also our motives.  Until that day, let's not take this role upon ourselves.  Unless there is a clear violation of Scripture involved or a specific teaching that is obviously contrary to the Word of God, let's choose to give each other in the Body of Christ the benefit of the doubt.  As my mentor, Pastor Steve Peters, taught me:

"If we are going to err, let's err on the side of grace!"


Cherdecor said...

Well, Pastor Scott, this is well said! With your permission, I may repost this at some point. Stating opinions as fact is a pride thing when it is second guessing. God help us all to allow the Holy Spirit to teach us learn this.

Pastor Scott said...

Permission granted! Thanks for commenting!