'He will bring to light what is hidden in the darkness and will expose the motives of the heart.' 1 Corinthians 4. 5
I remember once being challenged: What if all the secret thoughts of your heart were played out on a giant video screen for all to see?
The prospect of such a mortifying event made me wonder whether God could possibly want anything to do with me afterwards! My response was one of embarrassment and fear rather than a desire to be more open to God and consistent in my actions.
St Paul reminds the Corinthian church that God is his judge, and theirs. He admits that even if he himself has a clear conscience, that doesn't make him innocent. There is a humble awe in this sentiment - and an awareness that in the end it will be God who says whether we have lived faithfully - by his standards, not our own or anyone else's.
This Advent, spend a moment or two in the presence of God the Just - who is full of loving kindness and mercy, but also doesn't make excuses for anyone.