Our tendency is to monitor our behavior while pretty much ignoring our hearts. After all, how do you monitor your heart? I can’t get too far off base in my behavior without somebody drawing it to my attention. But my heart? That seems a bit more complicated.
Jesus said something that still has huge implications today: “The things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart,” and then, “Out of the heart come evil thoughts.”
The heart is such a mystery. In fact, one prophet asked of the heart, “Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Good question. The implication is that nobody can. With which I readily concur. And even if we do begin to understand it, we certainly can’t control it—which is all the more reason we need to learn to monitor it. Like the seismic activity of a dormant volcano, what you don’t know can hurt you.
Suddenly someone files for divorce.
Suddenly a kid’s grades drop and his attitude changes.
Suddenly a harmless pastime becomes a destructive habit.
Out of nowhere devastating words pierce the soul of an unsuspecting loved one.
We’ve all seen it, felt it, even caused it. Just as Jesus predicted, what originates in the secrecy of our hearts won’t always remain a secret. Eventually it finds its way into our homes, offices, and neighborhoods.
The heart seeps into every conversation. It dictates every relationship. Our very lives emanate from the heart. We live, parent, lead, relate, romance, confront, react, respond, instruct, manage, problem solve, and love from the heart. Our hearts impact the intensity of our communication. Our hearts have the potential to exaggerate our sensitivities and insensitivities. Every arena of life intersects with what’s going on in our hearts. Everything passes through on its way to wherever it’s going. Everything.
We need the courage to ask the heavenly Father for help to watch over, understand, and purify our hearts. He is eager to respond and to show us how to replace old bad habits of the heart with new and better ones that will in time make us more like his Son.
And that’s the memo.
By Andy Stanley