God knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with him.
1 Corinthians 4:5
Do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart.
Many years ago I was struggling over whether to accept a Call to a new congregation. I remember a friend and colleague advising me: “You can make the wrong decision for the right reason, and God will honor that.” I’m not totally certain of that advice, but it seems at least plausibly true. Certainly God knows our motives and the imaginations of our hearts.
We may think we know what others are thinking; their motives may seem clear to us. But that is a dangerous path to take. Indeed, judging others’ motives is precisely about which Paul warns the Corinthians above. God will bring to light things hidden in darkness and disclose the purposes of the heart. Those things may remain forever hidden to us.
This is both a comfort and a challenge. It is comforting to know that what may appear outwardly to be wrong to others may be known to God as righteous and true. Our refusal to speak up or take action may stem from an awareness of deeper issues than those obvious to others. On the other hand, our outward actions may also cover an unbelieving heart. In fact, the most outward and obviously good deception may never be discovered by humans. God will bring both to light: the pure motives for questionable (to others) actions, and the seemingly-good deeds motivated by impure desires.
We may make the wrong decisions for the right reasons. We may make the right moves with impure motives. The constancy of God’s pure justice and perfect insight into the hearts of men and women is the great corrective and constant comfort for those who seek his ways.