Perhaps you have heard the expression, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
This is very good advice when it comes to people as well, because that which you see with your eyes is not necessarily a reflection of their hearts. God’s Word clearly shows you cannot determine that which is in a man’s heart by the way he looks, or even acts.
Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables. Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me withtheir lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
To look at the Pharisees, with all of their religious traditions, activities, and apparel, one could easily think their hearts were completely lined up with the things of God. Jesus Christ saw through the outside into the inside, the heart. God wants the heart, and the heart is that which He looks upon.
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee. My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.
Once again we see that the thoughts of the heart are what a man really is, even if the actions of his life reflect something different. God wants the heart. Some people can smile with seemingly little cause. Their facial expressions may be bright and cheery, and give the impression that they are happy. Perhaps, you have spoken to people like this, only to find out that they are “smiling on the outside and crying on the inside.”
My thoughts were completely focused on what the teacher was communicating in a fellowship I was a part of many years ago. The words he was speaking seemed directed right to me personally. As I listened I remember having thought, “I can almost feel my life changing.” Apparently, the look on my face did not communicate the joy in my heart to hear these great truths. The teacher came up to me afterwards, and asked if I were angry or bothered by something. I said, “Why do you ask that?” He said, “The way you have been looking at me as I taught, I thought, perhaps, you were angry at me.” Oh my! The face truly is not always a mirror of the heart.
(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written. For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteous ness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
The word “spirit” in verse 29 is used figuratively and is referring to one’s inner being. God looks at the heart because the heart is truly what a man is all about. These records in Mark, Proverbs, and Romans show clearly that the heart is not always visible to the eye. These verses also show us how foolish judging another is at any time. We are definitely not qualified or capable of making judgements. Only the Lord is the true judge. You may want to review Romans 2:1-5, and Romans 14 to see that which is stated about judging others.