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The heart.  It is a symbol of Love, of Happiness, of a liking of something.  It is the picture of the word Love.

 

In our culture, Love has taken on several connotations other than strong, binding feelings between two or more people.  But this is nothing new.  “I love my wife” one might say.  “I love my Child.”  “I love my dog.”  “I love my couch.”  “I love that TV.”  “I love that movie.”  “I love the sunlight.”  “I love that joke.”  “I love to run.”  “I love…” and the list goes on and on and on.

 

We can love people.

 

We can love animals.

 

We can love inanimate objects.

 

We can love actions.

 

All of this loving we show with the picture of a heart.

 

But what about the actions we don’t love?

 

When a politician lies, saying one thing before election and doing another thing after, how do you view this?  When someone cheats on you, how do you view this?  When someone steals from you, how do you view this?

 

Do we “Heart” a lie?  Do we “Heart” a cheater?  Do we “Heart” a thief?

 

Why would you?

 

Would you even associate a “Heart” with one of those wrong doings?

 

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus does.

 

Jesus associates the picture of the “Heart” with wrong doings.

 

The religious leaders of the day were concerned with actions.  They had the original law given to them by God.  They also had additional laws given to them by men that far outnumbered God’s laws.

 

They were looking at “Behavior.”  They were interested in “Behavior Modification.”

 

Jesus ripped that point of view to shreds when the religious leaders asked him why his disciples broke “The tradition of the elders.” (Matt 15:2)

 

Jesus turns the accusation around on the religious leaders, breaking down their dependence on law and tradition of men.  He concludes with the truth that “Out of the heart comes evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.  These are the things which defile the man.” (Matt 15:19,20a)

 

I am not here to give a complete breakdown of this.  It is an interesting study but I’m not that humble or well versed to lead you through it.

 

What I want you to see is that Jesus takes our view from one’s behaviors and turns it to the source of the behavior, one’s heart.

 

When you lie, that is a sin.  But that is not the end of it.  There is something deeper than the lie.  The heart is the source of the problem.

 

This hit me when I read it.  “The fact that I get angry, tell a lie, gossip, is because of something in my heart?”  This is something I learned long ago but forget every day.  This is why we need Jesus.  We can’t modify our behaviors because we cannot get to the root of the problem.  Only Jesus can transform our hearts, making us more like Him every day.

 

So, the next time you lie, cheat, gossip, or sin any other way, look at your heart.

 

 

Psalm 51:10

“Create in me a clean heart, oh God”

 

Peace,

Bill

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