Have you ever done the wrong thing for the right reasons? How about the right thing with the wrong motive? It’s funny. You and I tend to judge ourselves based on our motives and intentions while we judge others on their actions. We want others to give us grace when we do something wrong because we intended to do the right thing, yet we escalate when someone almost hits us in traffic. We scream, yell, call them names, honk and then use our vehicle to show them how mad we are. Interesting. We want people to give us the benefit of the doubt, but are we extending it to them?
The hard part for us is that we can’t see people’s motives or intentions. We can only see what they do. God sees both our actions and our motives and He judges us based on our motives. I’ve always heard that sin is less of an action and more of a attitude or motive behind the action. It’s hard to think that way when you think of Christianity as a list of do’s and don’t with God in the sky waiting to smite you for breaking His rules. That’s not who He is. The Bible says His mercy’s are new every morning and His kindness leads us to repentance. He’s not watching your actions waiting for you to mess up. He’s looking at your heart ready to forgive.
Here are some Bible verses on God looking at our motives.
1. Put me on trial, Lord, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and my heart.
Psalms 26:2 NLT
2. And you, Solomon my son, get to know well your father’s God; serve him with a whole heart and eager mind, for GOD examines every heart and sees through every motive.
1 Chronicles 28:9 MSG
3. Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs and examines the hearts [of people and their motives].
PROVERBS 21:2 AMP
4. We are all in love with our own opinions, convinced they’re correct. But the Lord is in the midst of us, testing and probing our every motive.
Proverbs 16:2 TPT
5. Don’t hesitate to rescue someone who is about to be executed unjustly. You may say that it is none of your business, but God knows and judges your motives. He keeps watch on you; he knows. And he will reward you according to what you do.
Proverbs 24:11-12 GNT