1 Cor 4:5, “So then, do not judge~| anything before the time. Wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the motives of hearts. Then each will receive recognition from God.”
How easy it is to be critical, even cynical, of people and to destroy their credibility and acceptance before others. Such attitudes presume to judge the motives and intents of someone else’s heart and mind. Playing God’s role has dangerous consequences both because one usurps the place of God in judging His own servants and because there is a high probability that such critical judgments are mistaken, exaggerated, or out of context, resulting in cruel injustices.
God told Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature . . . For the Lord does not see as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam 16:7).
Why is it so hard to let God be the judge of His people? Could it be a selfish motive for vengeance, or do we not trust Him to do what we think is needed to teach a lesson? God is so different from us.
Paul writes that God “will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the motives of hearts.” This could be a scary experience, except for one factor: God promised to never remember our sins. In Isaiah 43:25, He says, “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake. And I will not remember your sins.” In Hebrews 10:17, he adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” God’s in–depth examination or judgment of our inner, hidden motives has nothing to do with revealing all our secret sins.
Peter described how God can do this: “love will cover a multitude of sins” (1 Pet 4:8). He does this, according to Isaiah 43:25, “for My own sake”—-that is, so He can be free to fellowship with us. He chooses not to see what is offensive to His holiness. If God overlooks, we are commanded to think the same way about others.
God’s purpose is revealed in the summation: “Then each will receive recognition from God.” He is not judgmental or critical of us seeking to destroy who we are; rather, His inspection seeks to find every last thought, dream, or motive that sought His honor and His glory—-anything He can use to justify what He wants more than anything: to give us His “recognition” or “praise” before all the saints of heaven. God only wants to praise us for our faithfulness. That is all He is about . . . so this is how we must think about others as well.
“Forgive me, Lord, for being so critical of others and especially for feeling more spiritual. Teach me to value only Your recognition and praise.”