- Dr. Stieglitz
Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 21:2
"Every man's way is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts"
every man's way is right in his own eyes
This is a statement of the basic perspective of people "under the sun" or from their sinful or selfish position. If I didn't think it was right for me, then I wouldn't do it. This does not mean that everyone thinks their way is right in the eyes of God.
All of us have a natural tendency, since Adam's fall, to live from the selfish or foolish perspective. It is this perspective that God asks parents to drive out of their children. It is the orientation to only or primarily look at a situation or choice for what we can get out of it. How do we win in this situation? It is this that the Bible calls foolishness. It could also be regarded as the natural outgrowth of original sin. We were originally created to have a different default setting. God created mankind to automatically think and act from the perspective of what does God want, then what would cause others to win, and finally what would cause me to win. One of the effects of the fall is that this order is exactly reversed and self becomes primary in our heart.
When we are restored at the return of Christ, it is this self-focused tendency that will be fixed or we would never enjoy heaven. In fact some people say, "Won't heaven be boring?" "How long can we sing praises to Jesus?" "Won't we grow tired of playing ping pong or resting?" All these questions represent a self-focused position. We will not have that in heaven. It is hell where the self-focused stay. God will fix it so that we will naturally be inclined to what brings God glory, what would God want, and what would please the Lord Jesus. We will think of wanting that first. Then we will naturally, and with great delight, want the others in heaven to win and gain and profit next. This will not be drudgery or difficult. It will be our natural inclination. The wonder of heaven will be that others will truly be looking out for our best interests as well as God. It will not be like here where it is unnatural for people to actually truly, from no ulterior motive, be looking out for your best interest. And then and only then will we consider what choice or action would benefit us. But truly we will not have to think about that much because God and others will be naturally thinking about that for us. We will enjoy the wonder of their love and concern for us constantly. We will profit and gain and enjoy immensely because we will not be self-focused.
Now interestingly enough, the same thing can happen here that will happen in heaven and that is that we can stop being so self-focused and selfish and really think of God's glory and others' profit first. When we do that, it will always result in a better life here for us. In fact, this is the kind of life that God wants us to live.
God wants us to get out of the natural, selfish, and foolish way of living by reminding us that He weighs hearts. The Christian does not come under the judgment for life or death. But the Christian does have to face the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10). We are reminded that we will be judged whether our deeds are good or worthless. Did you do what was selfishly profitable or did you love God or others with your actions today? Have you added to the glory of God through your actions today by putting Him first? Have you added to the glory of God by looking out for the best interests of others ahead of yourself? The Christian should be the one who realizes that he profits only when God and others profit. The Christian is not allowed to pursue the win/lose scenarios. He left that kind of life when he came to Jesus Christ.
This proverb reminds us that we all have a natural tendency since the fall to baptize our own perspective and our own selfishness as correct and good. The key perspective is: Would it stand muster under the Lord's gaze? Would it stand under the evaluation of the first and second great commandment?
To draw this down to a finer point. It is my job as a husband to make sure that my wife wins in the choices I make and the actions I take, before I win. It is my job as a parent to make sure that my girls win in the choices I make and the actions I take, before I win. It is their job to escape their natural selfishness and make sure that I win. It is my job as an employee to make sure that my employer wins before I make sure that I win. We are living in a devolving world in which selfishness is increasingly becoming the order of the day. It is called a dog-eat-dog world in which you need to get yours before other people eat your lunch. This is the path of personal and societal destruction. There is a similar verse in the book of Proverbs which gives a different point on the idea of your own "right" way. There is a way which seems right to a man but the end thereof is the way of death. (Proverbs 14:12)