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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Heart Check


Hi friends. This post is a confession.

A month ago, I was sitting in a coffee shop when I read this news: forty-nine people had just been murdered in a gay nightclub in Orlando.

I thought it was tragic. I thought it was horrifying. I thought about how scary it would have been to be there. I thought it was wrong, a million times over.

But what did I think before I had a chance to think? What was my first impression, after I read the news but before I had a chance to think? In that split second, an ugly, wordless impression flitted across my mind. It was something akin to this: "Good."

I am ashamed that I felt that way, even for a split second.

I am hesitant to admit that here, because I don't want any of my readers to think that I actually believe that there is anything good about a shooting at a gay nightclub.

I don't! I don't, I don't, I don't. I don't even want to think about thinking that.

But it was jarring to realize the ugliness my heart is capable of producing. Have you ever had that happen?

Every so often I'll realize I just thought a thought I never want to own: I judged someone for being unattractive. I doubted someone's competence because of their race. I heard of something awful and discovered that my first impression was self-righteousness rather than compassion.

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)

In a world that says, "Follow your heart," the Bible says, Don't trust your heart! It's desperately sick. It's sick enough to call evil "good" and good "evil." It's sick enough to think unmentionable things.

Lately I've been thinking about thoughts.

Thoughts are like little flies buzzing around in our heads. If we tolerate them, they multiply... If we feed them, they multiply even more. They breed more little flies and pretty soon our heads are buzzing with hundreds of thoughts. Then they start bouncing against the walls of our heads and they want to come out!

They come buzzing out of our mouths in words. Thoughts become words and words become actions. They meet other similar thoughts flying around in private conversations and social media and backyard barbecues, and they multiply even more. New thoughts fly into our ears and, if we let them, they take up residence and breed in us too.

"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ
." (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Take captive every thought!

You do not have to let ugly thoughts breed in your brain and fly out your mouth. You do not have to host the ugly thoughts that sneak into your ears and your eyes. By all means you do not have to hang out in environments that are filled with filthy flies, virtual or otherwise. Seek out some lovely butterflies to inhabit your head.

Take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ! Test each thought by Scripture. Is it...
  • true or false? (If you don't know, can you find out before your believe or share it?)
  • noble or ignoble?
  • right or wrong?
  • pure or dirty?
  • lovely or ugly?
  • admirable or despicable?
  • excellent or worthless?
  • praiseworthy or scorn-worthy?
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." (Philippians 4:8)

These days it seems like all the wrong thoughts are getting amplified, somehow. This is me saying I'm part of the problem; my heart is sick too. May God, whose thoughts are above our thoughts, give us grace. (And He does!)