Thursday, July 19, 2007

Counsels of the Heart

But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. (I Corinthians 4:3-4)

We should not judge even ourselves. All judgment remains in the hands of God. When we become super critical of ourselves; when we look in the mirror and see nothing but blemishes; when we flagellate and hate and despise ourselves, this is the true sin. We are arrogating to ourselves a prerogative that belongs only to him who died for our sins. When we are tempted to curse ourselves, we should instead just be silent and know that he is God.

Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God. (I Corinthians 4:5)

This scripture may be either terrifying or reassuring to us. For me, this is a special challenge to take care of the "counsels of the hearts." For there will be nothing more damning at the last day than that we ignored our own conscience. But we may trust that if we are true to our conscience, our entire generation may judge and damn us, it will matter not...

So we should take time to be silent and listen. We should have patience and trust that through the imperfections that seem so obvious to us, God can ultimately work our redemption.


Bill McA said...

My very favorite Book of Mormon verse goes along with that, I think:

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. (Ether 12:27)

Weaknesses are given to us by the Lord for our benefit. We have these weaknesses whether or not we acknowledge them. Indeed, one of the greatest sins we can ever commit is to refuse to acknowledge our weaknesses.

J G-W said...

It is interesting to me that it is much more important to our Heavenly Father that we learn to have an appropriate attitude, than that we necessarily overcome our weaknesses. In the Ether text, we learn that "weak things become strong" to the extent that we use our weaknesses as an occasion to learn humility.

I'm not sure exactly what it means when the text says "weak things become strong." Some people interpret it to mean that they will overcome their weaknesses, but I think it is equally possible that it refers to the fact that in developing an appropriate attitude of humility, our faith and our relationship with God becomes strong, enabling us to accomplish everything God calls us to accomplish.

GeckoMan said...

What an intriguing phrase, "make manifest the counsels of the hearts." It reminds me of another phrase, "he wears his heart on his sleeve."

If God will reveal our inner heart to others in the reward we one day receive, this phrase leads me to believe that it will reflect the prayers and counsels we've had with Him in our trials. And perhaps also the counsels we've had with others, the effort expended to establish righteousness on the earth.

J G-W said...

I believe it has specific reference to the contract God has with each of us; a contract and calling that is as unique as each individual living on earth. In another place in this text, Paul asks the Saints how they dare "judge another man's servant." We are each God's servant, God's and God's alone. It is God who judges his servants, not we, and when we undertake to judge another, we set ourselves in God's place as the master.