Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Straying Heart

Recently, I was thinking about individuals who keep repeating patterns of behavior that are hurtful to others. They are sorry after the fact, and vow to not repeat the behavior, but as time passes the same pattern begins again, and so does the hurt.  As I thought about this pattern, I asked, "God,...why?" Then, a portion of scripture begin to play through my mind.

"They always go astray in their heart." (Hebrews 3:10)

Makes sense, doesn't it?  That really is the bottom line--the heart. Something of the heart's affections are given elsewhere. Proverbs 4:23 makes clear the importance of the  issue of the heart. It says, "ABOVE ALL ELSE, GUARD YOUR HEART, for it is the wellspring of life." I especially like how the New Living Translation puts it, "Guard your heart above all else, FOR IT DETERMINES THE COURSE OF YOUR LIFE."  Wow!

This is also why Jesus said the greatest commandment in Mark: 12:30 is to "love the Lord your God, with ALL YOUR HEART, and with ALL YOUR SOUL, and with ALL YOUR MIND, and with ALL YOUR STRENGTH." He knew what the bottom line was. He knew that if anything less than "ALL"  of our affections are given to God, then guess what?--We'll go astray.

Funny, how so often, especially when it comes to heart felt issues, God *humanizes* Himself for me and gives me a glimpse into what He experiences everyday--it drives it home just a little better. How often do I go astray in my heart and cause Him hurt? We don't usually think this way, when it comes to God, do we? ...We might think He's angry and mad...But hurt? Even heartbroken? But yes, hurt and heartbroken would be a correct assessment for we are made in the image of a feeling God who speaks of how much He loves us and longs for us, and who walked the earth here as a man. As Hebrews 4:15 points out, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin."... Jesus never sinned because He always loves with ALL His heart, soul, mind, and strength. 

Years ago, God yet humanized Himself for me once again as I struggled to forgive someone whom I had sought to love.  This person had wronged me and terribly wronged someone else that I loved. So as I hung up the phone, engulfed with tears of rage and hurt, I heard that still small voice whisper in my ear, "Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress..." This comes from Hosea 3:1 where the Lord is allowing Hosea to live and feel what He feels everyday. Hosea loves his wife and yet she is an adulteress and even has children from these adulterous affairs. This is a picture of how God loves His people, and yet they play the Harlot with His affections...They go astray in their heart.

When God humanizes things for me, it puts all my world of hurt in perspective and it empowers me to do something I otherwise would not have been able to do--love and forgive. It also spirals it down to the bottom line for me--that without wholeheartedly loving God, all of us will continue to go astray in our hearts and hurt God, others, and ourselves.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; 
And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way."
                                                            Psalms 139: 23-24

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