Someone has defined gossip as news you have to hurry to tell someone before you find out that it isn’t true. As Nehemiah worked to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, Sanballat challenged his personal motives. He sent a letter saying, “It is reported among the nations, and Geshem says, that you and the Jews plan to rebel; therefore, according to these rumors, you are rebuilding the wall, that you may be their king” (Nehemiah 6:6 NKJV).
Nehemiah was being accused of the very thing that Sanballat and Nehemiah’s other enemies were guilty of themselves. Nehemiah wasn’t trying to be the king; he was serving the king. Nehemiah had been underwritten in this project by the king. He was a close friend and confidant of the king, and the king had even sent a bodyguard to protect them.
But Nehemiah’s enemies were saying, “No, you want to be the king. This is all about you. You’re on some kind of an ego trip.” They were, in effect, projecting their sins on Nehemiah.
This is what Jesus was talking about in the Sermon on the Mount when He said, “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3 NKJV).
You cannot judge the motives of another person. You can judge their actions and even make evaluations about their actions, but you cannot judge the human heart. That is exactly what Jesus meant when He said, “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matthew 7:1 NKJV). Another way to translate this would be, “Condemn not, lest you be condemned.”
Stop judging the motives of others and take a long look at yourself. Take care of your character, your personal integrity, and God will take care of your reputation.