All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
but the Lord weighs the spirit.
Commit your work to the Lord,
and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:2-3 ESV
For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. I Samuel 16:7b
Mr. Brocklehurst ran a boarding school for orphaned girls in England. He thought of himself as a very good, Christian man. He wanted to raise the girls to be humble and good, so he made sure they didn’t get enough to eat and were cold in the winter, that they worked hard, and that they were disciplined very strictly. He ordered that a girl who had beautiful curly red hair to have it cut off so that it didn’t make her proud. He often told the girls that they were going to hell because of their sins. Mr. Brocklehurst really thought that he was good, but in fact he was cruel and greedy. He used all the money he didn’t spend on the girls in the school to live in luxury with his family.
We are all sinful people, and it’s easy to look at ourselves and think how good we are. Even when we do bad things, we often make excuses in our mind that make the bad things actually seem to be good things. We might sometimes fool ourselves and other people, but we can’t fool God. God sees our hearts and our spirits, and he knows why we do what we do. The Bible tells us in Proverbs that the way to do the right thing is to give our work to God and let him guide us in what is the best thing to do. God sends us his word and his Holy Spirit to help us know what is right and good.
Even when we know what is right, we don’t always do it. We are often more interested in what other people think than in what God thinks. We keep on making excuses for our bad behavior. God sent us Jesus to be our Savior so that our sins could be forgiven. Jesus took all our sins to the cross with him and paid for them there. Because of Jesus we have God’s love and life with him always. He forgives us every day for falling short of his plans and helps us live in his way.
Dear Heavenly Father, please forgive us for fooling ourselves about our sins, and help us live your way. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Bronte, Charlotte Jane Eyre London: Smith, Elder, and Company, 1847.