Evil Suspicions

Evil suspicions!

“But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one” (1 Cor. 2:15).

“Suspicion” is primarily defined as “having a mistrustful nature; having doubt about someone’s honesty, integrity, or motives.” “Evil suspicions” (1 Tim. 6:4) involves impugning motives.  It is to deem something wrong or sinful due to mistrust or doubt (based on preconceived suppositions, or the mere appearance of a thing) without evidence of any actual wrongdoing.

Those who are guilty of evil suspicion are not usually prone to giving someone the benefit of the doubt when the occasion calls for it.  Instead of having an “innocent till proven guilty” attitude, they have a “guilty till proven innocent” mindset.  Such will often judge matters and people without knowing all the facts. Solomon said, “He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him” (Prov. 18:13).

To misinterpret one’s motives as evil or to pass judgment based on supposition (not facts) is to speak evil of that person. “Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?” (Jas. 4:11-12).

Jesus and Paul were frequent victims of evil suspicion.  Their motives were often called into question by their opposition.  For example, Jesus was called into question for eating with tax collectors and sinners (Matt. 9:11).  Paul was falsely accused of teaching things he never taught and defiling the temple, which he never did (Acts 21:28-29).  Also consider Job.  His friend Eliphaz concluded that those who are innocent/upright do not suffer (Job 4:7ff).  Therefore, since Job was suffering, he had to have sinned (which, of course, he did not, 1:1, 8, 22; 2:10).  None of these righteous men committed the sins that they were suspected or accused of, but that’s not the way it looked to those who saw what they wanted to see.

We must be careful about jumping to conclusions with people for we may misinterpret their motives or actions, calling something good evil.  “Woe to those who call…good evil…” (Isa. 5:20).  Perhaps we can illustrate this best with a story that was told of Dr. Glenn Olds (a former President of Kent State University) who, in 1941, during his junior year in college, recalled the sight of Mt. Rushmore as he hitchhiked cross-country.  From 10 miles away, he easily made out presidents Washington and Lincoln, but in the middle was a figure that looked a lot like Adolf Hitler.  Yet, once he got closer he realized that what looked like hair combed over a forehead was really cable wires.  What looked like a mustache was really scaffolding.  This made an impression on him and he noted in his journal, “What was Adolf Hitler at 10 miles away was Thomas Jefferson under construction.”

Jesus said, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (Jn. 7:24). “…For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7).  Therefore, friends, “…Do not be wise in your own opinion” (Rom. 12:16).  “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you” (Matt. 7:2).

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