We’ve looked at a lot of reasons why *not* to judge. One of the biggest arguments I hear to defend judging is this:
“But your heart is deceitful.”
The situation would go something like this:
Jimmy approaches Sally and tells her something that he thinks he sees in her – something that negatively defines her character or motives. Sally is stunned and tries to clarify that he has misperceived the situation and her motives. Jimmy responds, “Well, Sally, your motives aren’t always as pure as you think. After all, your heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.”
Hmmmm… is Jimmy spot on?
Jimmy sounds godly by quoting Scripture. And at first glance, maybe the situation seems like Jimmy should be able to speak about Sally’s heart.
But let’s look a little more deeply.
If it’s true that our heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure (and Scripture says it, so I believe it), then what makes Jimmy’s heart any different from Sally’s? If that verse applies to Sally’s heart, then why wouldn’t it apply to Jimmy’s as well? So we’ve got Jimmy’s deceitful heart characterizing Sally’s deceitful heart. That doesn’t clarify the motives of the heart – it compounds the deceit of the heart!
Now in some situations, the “Jimmy” of the situation will then say, “But Sally is wrong. I see this clearly, and she doesn’t.” Again, if the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure, then how are we to trust that Jimmy’s ‘seeing Sally’s heart clearly’ isn’t deceitful and beyond cure? Being firmly convinced certainly doesn’t preclude deceit!
So we’ve got the logic argument that compounding deceit makes judgment worse – not better!
Let’s also look at the contextual argument. Here’s our verse with the verses before it:
5 This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who draws strength from mere flesh
and whose heart turns away from the Lord.
6 That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;
they will not see prosperity when it comes.
They will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives.
7 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
8 They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”
9 The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure. Who can understand it? ~ Jeremiah 17:5-9
The Lord God says not to trust in man. After all, what man can understand the heart? Instead, trust in God.
Then check this out – this is the very next verse!
“I the Lord search the heart
and examine the mind,
to reward each person according to their conduct,
according to what their deeds deserve.” ~ Jeremiah 17:10
The argument that Sally’s heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure does *not* merit Jimmy’s judging it. The point of the verse is *not* to have another person’s deceitful heart judge yours. It is *not* to rely on man.
Instead, it is that the Lord searches our hearts. It is to trust in the Lord!
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting. ~ Psalm 139:23-24
Our heart is deceitful, so GOD is the one who searches the heart! His is not deceitful. It is only from a pure perspective – and He’s the only one with a pure perspective! – that our hearts can be accurately perceived.
Question: What are some other reasons why we shouldn’t defend judging another person with ‘but your heart is deceitful’?