These days, it’s hard for anyone to approach anyone with a sin that they’ve noticed without either being accused of being judgmental, hypocritical, or both. If both of those defense mechanisms fail, there’s always the trusty standby: “Yea, but God knows my heart.”

So? What does that have to do with anything?

It really is one of the most head-scratching non-sequiturs (used to love that comic, by the way): What does the fact that God knows your heart have anything to do with the obvious sin that is present to the rest of the world?

Most likely, it’s an accusation that what I’ve seen doesn’t represent the “real you,” because, after all, only God knows the “real me.” I’m not God, which means I don’t see the “real you” and can’t tell you that what you’re doing is wrong, since what I see isn’t reflective of who you really are. Make sense?

As a semi-recent car insurance advertisement would say, “That’s not how it works. That’s not how any of this works!”

God Does Know Your Heart

He knows everything; of course He knows your heart. Isaiah 55:8-9 teach that “His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.” Deuteronomy 29:29 says that “The secret things belong to God.

So yeah, God does know your heart.The Scriptures even say in several places that Jesus “knew the hearts” of the individuals He was talking to in real-time (Matthew 12:25; 22:18; Luke 6:8; 11:17; John 2:25). 

But should that change the fact that you’re in sin? Absolutely not. Here’s why:

The Heart is Where Your Actions Originate

God does know your heart, but so does everyone else (to an extent). Jesus said in Mark 7:21 that “from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries.” In other words, if you want to know what’s in someone’s heart, just watch their life, because their life is representative of the content of their heart. What you think is in your heart isn’t as important as what’s actually there, and what’s actually there is plainly seen by the rest of the world, as well as God.

Good Intentions Don’t Negate Your Actions

Just because you didn’t mean to commit that sin doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. How many times in David’s life do you think he wished he could take back that rooftop walk that ended with Bathsheba in his bed? And yet, David was a “man after God’s own heart!” Just because that situation seemed out of character with the rest of his life doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen, and when we talk to each other about correcting sin, that’s what we’re addressing: what actually happened, not what we intended to happen.

Chances Are, You Don’t Even Know Your Heart

Jeremiah was right on when he said “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” We may think we have a good grasp on our own thoughts and intuitions, but I’d bet you dollars to donuts (whatever that means) that you and I don’t understand the half of it.

God does, and not just because He’s God – although that’s a huge part of it. According to that same passage (Jeremiah 17:9-10), God also “searches the heart” and “tests the mind” and gives us “according to [our] ways” and “according to the result of [our] deeds.” Once again, it’s not about what we think, but what we do that matters.

So seriously, who cares that God knows your heart? He understands everyone’s and everything’s, but your life isn’t based around what you wish you would be or what you know you’re capable of, but what you actually do. “God knowing your heart” won’t save you in the day of Judgment, when He will render to “everyone according to their deeds” (2 Corinthians 5:10), so you shouldn’t be relying on it now.

Last modified: July 11, 2019