What’s behind the motive?

By Denae Jones – 

Motive. It’s the reason behind a person’s actions. In a court case, many times proof of a person’s motive is what determines an innocent or guilty verdict. The jury doesn’t only want to know what the person did, but why they did it, because it could establish whether the action was pre-meditated or not. If they can prove that the crime was planned ahead of time, the person being tried is more likely to be found guilty. In a courtroom, attorneys go to great lengths to find witnesses and evidence to prove their case. Sometimes they can prove someone’s motive beyond doubt, and sometimes they can’t. When it’s not proven, the person on trial is more likely to be released, or at least given a lesser punishment. So what if a jury decided a person was guilty with only a suspicion that the motive was pre-meditated? Would it still be a fair judgement?
If we take a moment to be honest with ourselves, don’t we sometimes do that to people in our own lives? When someone does something we don’t like, we tend to become the judge and jury, and decide motive all on our own. We say things like, “They only did that because” and then fill in the blank with whatever our suspicion is. We assume guilt. We get angry because we decide, without the benefit of a jury or evidence or witnesses, that someone’s actions were planned out. That’s probably not fair judgement either.
The truth is, there are only two people who really know someone’s true motive. The person who did the action in the first place, and God. I saw a church sign a few weeks ago that said, “Others see what we do, but God sees why we do it.” That goes for the good stuff and the bad stuff.
You know that really nice thing you did the other day? God knows whether it was with pure intention or just for show. And remember that thing you did that you’re embarrassed to even talk about? Yep, he knows your motive behind that too. Thank goodness for God’s grace. It’s a wonderful thing. It doesn’t matter where we started, what we did, or our motive behind it. He loves us anyway. God’s grace levels the playing field. As Joyce Meyer said, “God doesn’t love us because we’re good. He loves us because He’s good.”
The next time we are tempted to assume someone’s motive against us, let’s try to take pause for a moment. Can we prove it beyond the shadow of doubt? Are we judging unfairly? Maybe it’s an opportunity to show grace and mercy to someone else, just like we hope it’s shown to us.
Have a blessed week, friends!