What we see sometimes depends on the lens through which we view reality. What is right in our eyes may be wrong (Proverbs 3:7; Proverbs 12:15; Proverbs 26:12, 16; Proverbs 28:11; Proverbs 30:12); what matters is how things appear in God’s eyes, for his standard is truth (Deuteronomy 6:18; 2 Chronicles 16:9; Psalms 34:15; Proverbs 5:21; 15:3). As Proverbs 21:2 declares, “Everyone’s path looks straight and right to them, but the Lord evaluates human hearts.”
Depending on God for vindication
Jacob had labored hard and Laban had cheated him. In their culture, Jacob could count on their mutual relatives to value a sense of fairness (Genesis 31:37). Laban, however, insists, “All that you see is mine” (Genesis 31:43), as if Jacob is the one who has taken what belongs to Laban (Genesis 31:1). Genesis is plainly on Jacob’s side, although not approving of everything he did. But whereas Laban emphasizes “all that you see,” Jacob appeals to what God has seen—Jacob’s affliction (Genesis 31:42). Jacob’s appeal is right; in the end, it is ultimately God who vindicates Jacob.
Sometimes we are too ready to believe what others think of us, whether good or bad. People also can wrongly accuse or excuse themselves (cf. Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 2:15). But God is the righteous judge, and we can entrust our way and our vindication to him.