Recently, I posted a devotional word out of Proverbs and in it was this:
"I went by the field of the lazy man, and by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding; and there it was, all overgrown with thorns; its surface was covered with nettles; its stone wall was broken down." (Proverb 24:30-31)
Those 2 verses stuck with me for many hours. I kept going through them in my mind and I asked the Lord why He kept this on my heart. Here is what came to me:
Solomon referred to two men. One he called "the lazy man" and the other he called "the man devoid of understanding."
He called them names!
Then he described the fruit of their laziness and lack of understanding: the disorder, chaos and waste of what God had given to them to watch over on His behalf.
In other words, their laziness and lack of understanding was evident for the whole world to see.
Then, I asked the Lord what He wanted me to see in this.
He reminded me that in the downhill slide that our culture is experiencing, Solomon would be labelled by the enemies of God (and many foolish Christians who reflect the world FAR MORE than they represent Jesus) as a "hater" and as being "judgmental."
The TRUTH is that if anything about a person's appearance, behavior or performance is evident for the whole world to see, it will speak to the REALITY of the condition of his heart.
If a person has a lazy lifestyle....that person has a lazy heart.
If a person has a perverse lifestyle....that person has a perverse heart.
If a person has a lifestyle characterized by lawlessness...that person has a lawless heart.
If a person has a lifestyle characterized by sin....that person has a sinful heart.
In the same way....
If a person has a lifestyle characterized by honesty....that person has an honest heart.
If a person has a lifestyle characterized by godliness....that person has a godly heart.
So, like Solomon did, if a person speaks what he sees and is evident to all....he is not a "hater" nor is he "judgmental".
He is merely being honest and realistic.
However, his motive for speaking it...is the real key. If the person says what he sees that is bad in another's life so that he can promote himself....THAT reveals something about HISown heart. He judges himself to be prideful.
If he speaks it to simply shame the lazy man, for instance, that too reveals something about his own heart. He judges himself to be hurtful and, therefore, in league with the devil in that shaming.
Jesus said this:
“You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.” (Matthew 7:16-18)
“Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” (Matthew 7:20)
Jesus basically described what Solomon did in Proverb 24:30-31.
The issue with recognition of another’s sin is this: what is our motive for speaking it out loud?
To be holy in this…our motive MUST be to facilitate whatever is best for the person in question. Why? Because the stakes are high. They have a LOT to lose.
“Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matthew 7:19)
If we live out the heart of Jesus we will be compassionate toward one another.
If our heart is right when we address the faults of others we will do so in such a manner that the other person will receive the truth from us and will optimize the chances that they will turn to the Lord about it, repent and be restored by Him.
When we do that…we are not being “haters” nor are we being “judgmental”. Rather, we are loving people and speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
Also, if our heart is right….we will receive others when they point out to us our own faults. In so doing, they will be working along with Jesus to fulfill His promise to us:
“…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ… “(Philippians 1:6)
May we all resolve to speak the truth in love and only such things as the Lord places on our hearts to say. Let’s resolve to do it in HIS timing and with HIS words and to simply do that…..and not add anything of our own.
Let’s watch Jesus work on the hearts of men and women!