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Your intentions may not be as pure as you think!

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

Our dogs have a terrible habit. At least three or four times a day, they will begin barking at the neighbor's dog (actually, the neighbor's dog may be starting it). Their barking becomes so intense that they are all at the fence, clawing at it (sometimes even biting it), trying to get through to the other side.

We have a command for them to stop. We say, "Leave it!" If they stop barking and follow us inside, they get a treat. If they don't, we scoop them up (they're quite small), carry them inside, and sentence them to 15 minutes in their cages.

Every time this happens, I feel like Mylie (the smarter of the two dogs) looks up at me and her eyes say, "But master, I was protecting you!"

She believes that her motivation was pure. I know she was simply acting on her beastly instinct.


We do the same thing. We tend to assign ourselves the best motives. Even when we do something we know to be wrong, we justify it by telling ourself that our intentions are good. In conflict, we tend to judge others by their words or actions but want others to evaluate us according to our good motives.

God actually sees our heart. He weighs our spirit. He knows we are often motivated by selfishness, greed, vengeance, anger, etc. The Bible tells us that the mouth speaks (and the person acts) out of the abundance of the heart. If the output of your life is bad, that means the input was bad.

This is a good opportunity to examine your heart. Take a moment to second guess your motives. Don't immediately default to the excuse of "good intentions." Be ruthlessly honest with yourself.

Then...

Ask yourself what it would look like to always be motivated by love. Fill your mind with reasons why you love God. In every interaction, use your energy to discover reasons to love other people. Choose to modify your motivations. Choose love.

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