"Every man's way is right in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the hearts."
Proverbs 21:2 (NASB)
Do you find anything strange about this passage? I didn't for a long time. Then I began to think, what is the difference between something being right in your own eyes, and right in your heart? Shouldn't the passage say, "Every man's way is right in his own eyes, And the LORD weighs the hearts."? It seems to me that whether you're a Christian or not, we tend to assume that if someone has judged a way of living to be correct, then, right or wrong, their heart is in the right place. But that doesn't seem to be what this passage is saying. It seems to be saying, if your way is wrong, your heart is wrong... that's a little scary.
After thinking about it ever more, however, it does make some sense. Does anyone ever really go the wrong way in their own eyes? It seems that if something seems right, or beneficial, at least at the moment, people tent to choose that path. It comes down to choosing whose opinion you'll side with, your own, or that of someone else. This really calls into question just what it is that makes someone evil. Usually if someone hurts us or someone we love, we tend to judge the motives of their heart. We picture them plotting in some dark corner just what they'll do to hurt the next person.
When we think back to times when we've done something "evil," however, is this the way that we were thinking? Of course not. We justify everything that we do. We can always give some reason for our behavior at the time we act. If we lie about that reason, well, then we have a good reason for that too. Do you really think Hitler sat in some tower, relishing how evil he was? I'll bet he had a "good" reason in his subjective mind for everything he did. His way was right in his own eyes, but his heart was most definitely not. How is that possible? To put it simply, His opinion was what was most important, and he followed it to the death.
As Christians, then, whose opinion should be the most important? Do we base our lives on subjective opinion, Or do we look somewhere outside of ourselves for the most trustworthy opinion. Do we judge our path as best we can and assume that our heart is in the right place, or do we look to God and his word and trust that he will guide our heart to the right place. We live in a subjective culture, but it has become clear to me that appealing to subjectivity is really an appeal to pride. Evil doesn't come from trying to be evil. It comes from thinking that your opinion is all it will take to lead you to truth.