If you’ve ever said the right things but felt the wrong things . . .
If you’ve ever done the right things but complained . . .
If you’ve struggled with jealousy, envy, hate, negativity, anger, and resentment, disappointment and know that it’s time for a change . . .
This is for you. This is for me. This is for those of us who understand that a heart check-up is vital for growth, life, peace, and joy. This is for those of us who are brave enough to stop examining, criticizing and complaining about others, and will dare to look in the mirror.
Jeremiah 17:9-10 lets us know that “[t]he heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? ‘I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.’” No person is exempt from heart failure. We are human, and we are prone to having a bad heart, from time to time, especially without the proper checks and balances. Just like eating the wrong foods and lack of exercise negatively impacts the physical heart, complaining, negative thoughts, words deeds, and company affects the condition of the heart.
The heart is the center of our thoughts and emotions. It’s our real character. It’s who we really are. Sometimes this doesn’t exactly line up with who we think we are or what we do and say. People can do the right things for all the wrong reasons.
We have the choice to embrace thoughts and emotions when they are inline with God’s Word or reject them if they’re not. However, too often, we excuse ourselves and others by saying, “That’s just the way I am.” We don’t take the authority God has given us to work on negative heart issues because it requires accountability, change, and work.
There are some steps that we can take if we truly want to have and keep our hearts pure:
1. Know that God’s sees our hidden motives.
“For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (I Samuel 16:7).
Understand that people may not always identify between an impure or a pure heart, but God knows. If our aim is to please Him, we understand that He knows every single thing about us. There is nothing hidden.
2. Ask God to create a pure heart in you.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).
We must humble ourselves and ask God to show us ourselves. If we have erred, we need to repent and ask him to renew His Spirit in us. Being totally submitted to Him allows His Spirit to reside in us, strengthening us to overcome our fleshly desires and feelings.
3. Guard your heart.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23).
It sounds so easy, but it can be tough. We have to be watchful of our thoughts when we’re talking to people, watching television or perusing social media. We have to be sure that our actions, words and deeds are matching up with our hearts—and that our hearts are pure. Any person, place, or thing that jeopardizes the condition of our heart must be examined and if possible, avoided until we have strengthened ourselves through the Holy Spirit’s power to overcome the negative impact.
4. You will live a blessed life if you make the decision to have and keep a pure heart.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8).
We have a promise in His Word that guarantees our eternal life with God when we keep our hearts pure. Living honestly, without backbiting, gossiping, envying, and deceiving others is freeing. We can move in and out of all types of situations, good and bad, knowing that we have done and said the right thing when we have a pure heart.
A pure heart is loving, kind, transparent, and real. You know it when you encounter one. You feel it when you have one. You feel it when you don’t. You know when others have it. Yep, you know when they don’t. When we focus on improving ourselves from the inside out, we are inspiring others, bearing fruit, and making positive change.
Blessings and love,
So often we recognize when someone says the wrong thing. It sticks out like a sore thumb to us. We remember it. We might play it over and over in our heads when we see or think of the person. Whether in conversation or on social media, we might wonder, “Why did he/she say that?” The funny thing is, of course, that the person who may have said it might be unaware that they’ve said something out of place. Like I’ve said before, it’s pretty easy to judge others by their actions and to judge ourselves by our intentions.
Wait a minute though. Does that mean that it’s possible for me to also say the wrong thing without intending to? To keep it short and sweet, why yes! The good thing is that we have so many checks and balances to keep us on the right track. Through a real relationship with Him, reading His Word, and His Holy Spirit, we will equip ourselves with the wisdom needed to say the right words at the right time. And, when the wrong words are said to us or about us, we can respond in a Christ-like manner.
I’ve been reading a little pink book entitled, Keep It Shut, by Karen Ehman. It’s about what to say, how to say it and when to be silent. It has really helped me to recognize things that other people say, and most importantly, things that I say that just aren’t right. Ehman emphasizes that often it’s best to just “keep it [mouth] shut.”
I’ve begun to notice that if I start too many sentences with “I” (“My”) or “You” in a conversation, I’m usually going in the wrong direction. If someone says something or even posts something on social media, we need to pay attention to how we respond. Responses that are what I’ll call “I-centered” or self-centered cloaked in the disguise of I’m-trying-to-let-you-know-that-I-can-relate can often put a person at a distance. For example, if someone tells you that their daughter got all A’s and you feel the need to tell them how your child has done or what they have accomplished without really hearing them, it will tend to put the other person at a distance. Anything that even remotely appears like one-upping another person in relationships isn’t often received as coming from a loving and giving posture—even if our intentions are otherwise.
Words can hurt, irritate, aggravate, anger, enrage, and even depress, but they can also instruct, motivate, encourage, warm, strengthen, empower, and enlighten. The words that we speak (and post) are powerful. More often than not, the words we use are good or bad, hurtful or helpful, self-defeating or self-empowering. We have to take time to think about what we’re conversing about.
Even with all of the technology and numerous ways for people to connect, so many people aren’t being listened to. I’ve decided to challenge myself to speak less and to listen more. If we approach relationships from that vantage point, things are so much easier and a much more loving environment is created.
Nothing is more exhausting that hearing someone go on and on about themselves. People like this often repeat themselves with the same tired stories, but they don’t realize that the person has already heard it! I’ve come to recognize that sometimes it’s because these people haven’t really fever felt heard. Regardless of what they’re conversation is, we should be ready to answer every person in the right way. When we are seeking Him, He will give us the right way to respond or not to respond—regardless of what their conversation is.