A good friend challenged me this past week to look at 1 John 3:20. I have an overactive conscience due to perfectionistic tendencies and a legalistic upbringing. And probably a nervous personality type, as well. OK, if you know me at all, you know I’m a bit neurotic. So…the verse was a good one to see. But it’s also a scary one to understand, I’m thinking.
So…maybe I’m NOT understanding it. That is a very real possibility (See previous paragraph).
The verse was shared in the New Living Translation:
It is by our actions that we know we are living in the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before the Lord, even if our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything. Dear friends, if our conscience is clear, we can come to God with bold confidence.
I usually read the New American Standard:
We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God.
But The Message spoke most clearly to me:
This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves. And friends, once that’s taken care of and we’re no longer accusing or condemning ourselves, we’re bold and free before God!
So..what do you think? Is this paraphrase getting it right…cause…I really need it to be right.