You could read this paragraph hurriedly and go on about your business, but I beg you not to; I beg you to read it and let it impact your life. I do not ask this because it is something I wrote; quite the contrary, it contains a timeless truth that God revealed about you... and me... and about every human being. If you will let the truth that it contains impact your life positively, your life will forever be changed and the blessings of God can be yours for the asking. Here is the foundational truth that is a “must read and heed.” “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the hearts.” (Proverbs 21.2). Now that the words have been written, the challenge is to get us (you and me) to understand the import of the truth of these words and to order our lives accordingly.
You are a rational human being. This simply means that you are capable of making important and informed choices about most of the weighty matters in your life. You are a rational human being because God made you that way. When he created humanity, He placed a spirit within man, a spirit that hadsthe ability to know, to think, to remember, to consider the consequences of actions, and to choose the better course. That's the good news! The “down side” to this free moral agency with which you were created is the fact that you are designed to “rationalize” your every action. Furthermore, every way of man is right in his own eyes. Let's consider this truth and illustrate it with my eating habits!
I know that I am overweight – not terribly, but considerably (see there I go already, rationalizing why it is OK to be the way I am). I know that the things that I eat in private actually show in the most public places! Yet, I rationalize what, and how much, and how often I eat. And somehow, I come up with the conclusion that it is OK. I was “good” last week when it came to my diet, so it is OK to “splurge” a little this week (at least this is what I think)! Yet, when I finally get the courage to step on the scales, they don't really care about my thought processes; they just reflect the cold hard truth; I am still overweight! As an additional note of the times, the bathroom scales I use can't be “adjusted” like the old models where I could set the dial back to a couple of pounds below zero so it would “appear” that I weighed less than what was really the case.
Now tell me; have you ever played any of these games with truth and your weight. I know that this particular problem is not a problem that everyone has, but if it is not this problem, it is some other one! Perhaps it is how you work, or play, or greet your friends, or save for the future, or drive on the interstate, or on and on ad nauseam! The truth that we absolutely hate to face is the truth that we don't like to face truth! It stares us in the face and doesn't blink! So, what do we do? We blink! We adjust the light so the circles under our eyes don't look so dark, or we get Botox injections to relax the muscles around them, or we only associate with folks older than ourselves so we look younger! Surely you get the picture by now! Reality is not changed by how we think (or refuse to think) about it. The naked truth is still the naked truth, even when we try to dress it up. Ugly is still ugly, wrong is still wrong, error is still error, and yes, sin is still sin.
The message of this message is easily stated but applied with the greatest of difficulties. “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes.” I can state this another way that is equally truthful but hard to accept; here it is: Until I see myself through eyes other than my own, I will never know the truth about myself! This is such a bitter pill to swallow! But we aren't here to only eat the sweets of life – or are we? God help us to see this truth as we continue our thoughts about it and its impact on our lives!
1. What are the “eyes” of man as mentioned in the proverb? Are they just the physical organs of sight?
2. What does it mean to be rational? How does that faculty relate to rationalizing? Is it good or bad to rationalize (be careful how you answer this; do you – in fact, must you – rationalize)?
3. Is reality really perception? Or is reality still reality regardless of perception?
4. How can sin cease being sin? Is it through acceptance of someone, or a hundred, or a million, or a billion, or all the universe? If every person voted to eliminate sin, what effect would it have on reality?
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