In Our Own Eyes


All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirit. Proverbs 16:2

Since human nature hasn’t changed at all in the last 3,000 years since Solomon penned these words, they remain as relevant as ever. A biblical worldview holds that God made man in his image (Gen 1:27) and that what God made was "very good" (Gen 1:31). However, the goodness of God's creation was broken by the corruption of man's rebellion against his creator (see Gen 3:17-19 and Rom 8:18-22). The harsh reality is that each one of us is fallen, depraved and sinful, and in our rebellion, we still desire to be respected and thought of as good people on our own terms, apart from faith in God. This deception seeps ever deeper into the fabric of secular society, where the perpetrators claim the moral high ground. The only sinner nowadays is he who doesn't unequivocally affirm another’s view of himself.

As Christians, we need to recognize the same propensity in each of us to consider ourselves better than what the Bible says about our sinful condition. And, if we are not careful, we will be swept along with the current of this world to condone sin and compromise truth. Lifestyles once thought sinful are increasingly tolerated, accepted, and even celebrated. How could it ever be that people claiming to know and love Jesus Christ would embrace and celebrate evil with no moral scruples?

First of all, the Bible makes it clear that not all who profess faith actually have it (see Matthew 7:22-23). But then there is also a process of conditioning that takes place over time. Deluged by worldly propaganda, even Christians can become desensitized to that which is wicked in the eyes of God. It would be helpful to know the strategy that leads so many astray. We need not be ignorant of the devil’s devices (see 2 Corinthians 2:11).

1. Renaming and redefining sin.

For example, a man who sacrifices his family for career is not an idolator, he’s reframed as ambitious or simply working hard to support his family. He’s not covetous, just driven, even successful. Blatant acts of wrongdoing are now relabeled as "mistakes." Perversion is love. Sin itself is only a lack of self-esteem. It’s not fornication but cohabitation. It’s not lying, it’s self-protection, and on and on it goes. As long as people see their own way as “pure in their own eyes,” how can there ever be repentance?

2. Playing the comparison game.

Another way we make ourselves look better than we are is by playing the comparison game. Making others out to be worse than ourselves provides the excuse to not see our own weaknesses as the "real problem" in our lives. We can always find someone more wicked than ourselves. By criticizing others, people find a kind of balm for their own guilty conscience. Tragically, if one carries this logic through to its ultimate end, it makes the greatest sinner on earth the ultimate standard.

3. Blaming others.

Closely related to the comparison game is blaming others. While it is true that circumstances in a fallen world can have an enormous influence on a person, the Bible says we remain responsible for our responses to them. However, people have looked to lay the guilt of their sinful responses (and their consequences) at the feet of parents, society, and even God. In today’s world, nearly all sin can be excused under the banner of victimhood. Personal responsibility is no longer real. We’re all just products of our environment, DNA, and programming. Our national motto has become “It wasn’t my fault!”

In today’s world, nearly all sin can be excused under the banner of victimhood. Personal responsibility is no longer real.

4. Redirecting

Finally, people often seek to mollify guilt and shame by emphasizing some admirable quality that on balance, means they are a good person. Even religious leaders will excuse their sins by focusing on the “sacrifices” they make for the ministry. A man may be addicted to porn and seek "penance" by giving generously to the church, in which he--not God--dictates the terms of his own absolution. Gossips often cover their errant tongues under a blanket of concern.

The book of Judges is the sewer of Scripture. It details how the sin and depravity of Israel led to despicable acts of idolatry and immorality, yet the people were not doing what they knew to be evil, but what was right in their own eyes. Thus, the times of the Judges differ little from our own. What God condemns as evil has become acceptable and right in the eyes of many today.

So, ask yourself, “Am I constantly trying to make myself look better than I am? Do I label sin by some other name? Do I compare myself to others worse than I? Do I seek to excuse myself by blaming others? Do I seek to redirect the guilt and shame of my sin?”

If the answer to any of these is affirmative there is only one thing to do: repent. Acknowledge and confess your sins before God and accept his grace and forgiveness. Keep close to him in prayer and the Word. For nothing is pure if it is not pure in His eyes.

Identify the Devil’s strategy of conditioning our hearts towards sin.