One of the main ways that humans usurp God’s role is in the area of judging the heart motives of others.
There is a good indication that before sin entered our world that humans simply stayed clear away from this speculative sinking sand. It does appear that the sin of judging motives occurred before the sin of disobeying God’s commandment to not eat the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil:
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. (Genesis 3:1-5, emphasis mine)
Before Eve actually disobeyed the Lord and ate the forbidden fruit, she first judged His motives for giving the commandment. Do you see this? It was NOT a question of “what” God had said. That was clear enough. “Do not eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” But the problem came when “why?” was considered.
Why would God not allow you to eat from this one tree? This is where the Serpent was most beguiling. He slandered God’s character in the mind of Eve. “God is not allowing you to achieve your fullest potential and to experience your greatest pleasure. He’s holding out on you and keeping you in a place of limitations. You deserve to know more.”
The rest is history.
We are never more like the devil than when we are pridefully or fearfully speculating about the motives of people around us.
There’s probably not a more common way that mortal man seeks to usurp Almighty God’s role than in this area of judging the motives of other’s hearts.
Only God is capable and competent to know and judge the hearts of people. That is a land of forbidden fruit to us. When we judge motives we invariably make a mess of everything.
Here’s a chart that depicts some of the major ways we differ from God when it comes to judging motives:
If you’d like to dig a bit deeper on this subject, click here to go to the free Resource Page where you can listen to our podcasts on this teaching and others in the series.
Click here to go to the first post in the How to Stop the Pain series.
Click here to go to the second post in the How to Stop the Pain series.