Wednesday, March 28, 2007

It’s a Matter of the Heart

I spent most of the today with Sebastien. We went out for lunch, went looking for some parts for his windsurfer, and then just spent the afternoon chilling. Because it was my day off, I can’t say that a whole lot exciting really happened. There was a possibility that I would go fishing, but that didn’t pan out for today, perhaps tomorrow.

One thing that did come out of our conversations was the reminder that what is going on in our hearts pours out of our tongues.

Jeremiah 9:8 Their tongue is a deadly arrow; it speaks with deceit. With his mouth each speaks cordially to his neighbour, but in his heart he sets a trap for him.

Have you ever thought about what that really means? “Their [Israel’s... or our] tongue is a deadly arrow” Perhaps if Jeremiah was writing today, he would say that our tongue was like a bullet. Or maybe, for you geeks out there, a rootkit. It is used to destroy, cut down. But it is cunning as well. It likes to disguise itself with lies so that its true intent is not really known. While we put on a cordial exterior, a brooding infection manifests itself inside of us.

Proverbs 15:28 The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.

Proverbs 16:23 A wise man's heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction.

Matthew 12:34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.

The last verse is probably the most damning. Imagine this situation. You have been in your church for your entire life, listening to the teaching of your pastor... absorbing his every word and revelling in his wisdom and prowess in opening up the scriptures to you. Some unkempt, uncouth Ontarian (for all my western Canadian friends) walks into the church, and calls your pastor a hypocrite and a false teacher. How do you think you would react? Imagine what it must have been like to watch this scene with Jesus and the Pharisee’s unfold then!

Not only would he call your pastor a hypocrite, but accuse him of being evil, rotting from the core out. These are no gentle, frothy accusations that Jesus levels. They pierce to the heart of matters.

I would garnish from these teachings that the Bible teaches us that what we let flow out of our mouths is merely a reflection of what goes on in our hearts. This can especially be leveraged over time, as a consistent pattern arises from multiple encounters.
If you’re like me, you want to stop and examine what you have been saying! Perhaps you look and are surprised at the things you’ve said, good or bad. Your attitudes, your reactions, the topic of your conversations. These all make a difference. Are you sarcastic, or loving? Are you cold, or welcoming? Are you judgemental, or hospitable? Are you condescending, or encouraging?

There are many things this brings to light... in my own life and in the lives I am involved in while I’m here in Fiji. It blows the chaff away, and leaves me only with the seeds of the heart. What you find is disturbing. Where you should find pure, unadulterated wheat, you find black, maggot infested, rotting seeds. These are things that should have been culled and removed years ago, and yet they still remain.

It serves as a warning sign to us. Do not wait to cut away what cancer grows in your heart. Remove it by whatever means necessary and rise above it. Because our faith, the Way... it’s a matter of the heart.

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