We can’t know absolutely what anyone is thinking… nor can we determine if a person is or is not saved. But it IS possible to evaluate people’s behavior to a degree and from their conduct and words. In fact, Jesus calls us to do that very thing when He said, “By their fruit (conduct, words) you will know them” (Mt 7:15-20). Jesus DID say, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Mt 12:34).
So is it possible to know a person’s heart to some degree? I have two suggestions. One for observation and the other for understanding.
Observation. Be a student of people. Watch… listen… observe and compare what you see with Scripture (More importantly, strive to live these yourself). Here are two passages for consideration…
Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Colossians 3:12 Put on then… compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
A pure heart will speak words that build others up. They will not be bitter, angry, or speak ill of others. They will be kind, tender, and forgiving. They will be compassionate, humble, and patient… quickly forgiving. They will love all and be at peace in themselves. They will be thankful to God and filled with God’s Word. Everything they do will be to honor and glorify God.
Observing things to the contrary will reveal a good deal of a person’s heart… including our own.
Understanding. By and large, whatever a person IS, they project onto others. If a person is honest, they will think others are honest. If a person is forgiving, they believe others will forgive. If a person is faithful, they will believe others to be faithful… and visa versa. Those who are deceitful will think others like them. If they’re manipulative they will think others are too. If they can’t be trusted they won’t trust anyone else. This is found in Titus 1:15…
To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled.
The first person’s heart to discern is our own! How do WE measure up to Ephesians 4:29-32 and Colossians 3:12-17? What do we project on others as to their motives? To a great degree, what we project IS who we are ourselves. So we must consider what the first thoughts are we have toward others to discern ourselves! Just a few morning thoughts…
Reblogged this on Growing Christian Woman and commented:
I really like the way he says his. When we judge other people’s hearts, we tend to do this based on the state of our own heart. If we care about other people then we tend to assume that the other person does the same, but if we have a selfish heart we tend to think the other person does too. When we do this, we do not necessarily recognize the truth in our own hearts; instead we are using a defense mechanism that psychology calls projection, ascribing those thoughts and feelings to others instead of ourselves.
Nobody is really a mind reader or a heart reader. We can’t ever truly know all that another person is thinking or feeling. We can make educated guesses, but won’t always be correct in our assumptions. We can sometimes create serious injustices by assuming bad motives in others when they had none. We can hurt loved ones in that way and lose friends. When we start to think such negative thoughts about others, that is a signal that we need to pause and do some serious soul-searching ourselves. We might be projecting our own emotions onto them.
We also need to recognize when others are doing that to us. If someone is constantly acting like they know us better than we know ourselves, they may be projecting their hearts onto us. This is not a healthy relationship. We deserve to be in relationships with people that we love and can trust. If possible, clear up misunderstandings and reconcile with others. However, if there is nothing but anger and bitterness in your relationship, then it might be time for that relationship to end. Let it go and move on with your life.