He is The Discerner of Our Hearts
By Dot Bowen
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. Matthew 12:25 (NIV)
When I read, Jesus knew their thoughts, I feel a little anxiety run through my body. To be quite honest, there are times I don’t want anyone knowing my thoughts—especially not my sweet Jesus. But I guess if I had to choose between Jesus or other people knowing my thoughts, I would go with Jesus every time. Even as I type this it seems strange I would prefer a holy God to know what I’m thinking rather than people who have similar issues with their thought lives. But it’s true! Jesus is not condemning; people are. Even when we struggle with the same issues, it’s easy to expect others to be more victorious over their thought life than we are. Knowing Jesus as the discerner of the heart can bring us comfort. We have no power to know someone’s heart and what they are thinking. But we can trust in the One who does.
I must admit there are times when I think I know what others are thinking. And that tends to get me in trouble. I probably frustrate my sister beyond measure when she says, I know what they are thinking, because I quickly respond with, Janice, you do not know what they are thinking! Janice has a friend in Chattanooga who agrees with me so now they tell each other, I know we don’t really know what they are thinking, but we “think” we do!
Have you ever noticed someone’s facial expressions or behavior and think you know their thoughts? Can you fake your facial expressions and behavior and appear to feel the exact opposite of what you are thinking? Of course, we all have! We are perfect at pretending! Nothing allows us to perfect pretending like social media. But what about our thoughts when we are alone and no one is watching? God is the only One who can truly discern our heart and our thoughts.
Matthew 12 tells of an occasion when Jesus was casting out a demon. Jesus was able to read the thoughts of those watching Him. He immediately got to the issue at hand, and it was not the demon-possessed man. Jesus confronted thoughts of those watching Him. Since God is the only One who has the power to know a person’s thoughts and understand what is buried down deep into their heart, who can we trust? If we can’t fully understand ourselves, how can we fully understand someone else? How can we live a life full of love and care for others if we can’t truly know them completely? These questions can cause fear, especially when we are encouraged to trust other people. What would you have thought if you had been watching Jesus heal a demon-possessed man? Would you have believed Jesus was Satan like those watching in Matthew 12?
In Psalm 139, King David wrote of how amazed he was at how well God knew him. What’s more amazing is not only does God know us, but in spite of this knowledge, He loves us with an everlasting love. I’m not sure if we could be 100% confident anyone else would still love us if they could read every thought we have ever had and knew everything we treasure in our hearts. But God does!
I have come to understand it is not my life’s mission to know the thoughts or heart of man. My life’s mission is to know the heart and thoughts of God. If I concentrate on seeking the heart of God, He will reveal to me when I need to be careful in whom I’m to give my heart. I have been around some people who have made me feel uncomfortable for no apparent reason, and I’ve met people who I have immediately fallen in love with for no apparent reason. God has been very faithful to guide me in my relationships with others when I have asked for His wisdom.
I’ve lived long enough to understand I can’t trust everything I hear, everything I feel, or everyone I know. But I can and should trust God. I may not be able to understand every thing about God, but I do know He loves and accepts me even when I am unlovable. God consistently shows His desire for me when I am undesirable. I may not completely understand God, but He is the only One I can completely trust. And when I struggle with whom I can trust, I can trust God to reveal the truth to me concerning that person. God will be faithful to bring me the people I can trust as long as He is the only One I totally trust! He is the Discerner of the heart!
Further Reading Psalm 139:1-2; Hebrews 4:12; 1 Kings 8:39; Matthew 12:22-25; Acts 1:24; Romans 11:34