Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 16:2
"All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight,
but the Lord weighs the motives."
This is one of the numerous passages in Proverbs and through the Scriptures that speak of Judgment Day. There will be a judgment day for every person who has ever lived. It is this sure judgment that allows for the scales to be balanced properly in the end. There will be some things that will not be settled until then. You will see some who are evil prosper while some who are righteous suffer. Don't despair. God will not be mocked whatsoever a man sows that will he also reap.
Everything we ever think, say, do – every attitude and every motive – is being permanently recorded for evaluation at the judgment.
Think about everything you have ever done being exposed to God and others and there will be a profound sense of humility and a cry for mercy. It is only in the death of Christ on the cross that we have any hope of favor with God. Judgment day is a sobering thought, but God continually wants us to focus on its reality.
all the ways of a man are clean in his own sight
Mankind has a fascinating ability to rationalize even the most heinous sins and actions. We just believe that the reasons we did something are weighty enough to give us excuse for that action. The reason why we put off that thing. The reason why we never finished school or were rude to that person or looked at pornography. All our actions have reasons and something internal to our self-focus beliefs that our reasons are sufficient and excuse the behavior.
What this proverb states is that this is not true. God has a higher standard and will judge people not from an outside perspective but from the very depth of their being.
but the Lord weighs the motives
The word translated motives is really the word ruach which means spirit. The Lord is weighing and judging the spirit of the person and what they are in the deepest part of their being.
This is why the early church established a pattern of confessing sins every night before a person retired to bed. The seven deadly sins became a favorite as well as the Ten Commandments. These were confession guides to evaluate from an outside perspective what we had done that day. I highly recommend this practice. It is an application of Jesus’ principle of daily foot washing in John 13.
As you are going to sleep before you have dozed off, go through the seven deadly sins (Pride, Envy, Anger, Lust, Sloth, Gluttony, Greed) slowly, asking the Lord to bring conviction if you have committed any of these sins that day. If God convicts you that, yes, you have done one of these, then agree with God that it was wrong. Thank Him for the forgiveness that is in the blood of Christ. Ask Him to apply the forgiveness of Christ to that sin. If any restitution or apology to a person is needed, then plan to do that the next day.