By John Lysaught
It’s hard to deal with people sometimes. Let’s be honest; they can really get to us and stir up emotions of anger and discontent. People talk to us with disparaging words to hurt us or to make us angry. It seems to be a societal norm to do this, Christians and non-Christians alike. We live in a society that makes this seem normal, even if it means hurting others with words.
Yes, I’ve seen and you have seen other believers do this. They forget the first will be last and last will be first. They have no problem hurting and destroying others to get to the top, get ahead in life, or to just make themselves feel better about themselves by putting others down. They have forgotten that Jesus taught and lived otherwise. They put themselves first before others when it should be the opposite.
It’s a heart thing concerning how we treat others. Jesus wants our hearts, and if our hearts are blackened or sour, is there really a relationship with Christ? Is there really the love of Jesus in us? I don’t think so. Sure, at church, people act the role; but what about outside the walls of the sanctuary. I’m a greeter at church and an usher, and even at church there are people with sour looks on their faces. When I greet them, they don’t even acknowledge me; they just walk into the sanctuary. And when they leave, they are the ones who rush out the door to the safety of their cars, to go on with their day.
My daughter is a waitress, and she tells me that Sundays are her worse days. She tells of people coming from church (in their Sunday best) who are usually rude, complain a lot, and are the worst at giving tips. What does this say about us as lovers of Jesus? The condition of our hearts is reflected in our outward demeanor towards others. It’s these Christians that make the rest of us look bad and portray us as hypocrites in the eyes of nonbelievers.
1 Timothy 1:5, KJV says, “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” Do we really live this way? Do we have pure hearts to show others the love of Jesus? How can people proclaim their love for Christ when they can’t even show the love of Jesus to others? They are double-minded people, who speak out of both sides of their mouths. They want to portray themselves as lovers of Jesus to man, though they really don’t have Him in their hearts. I wonder if they even realize this? It begs the question as to whether they have really accepted Christ into their hearts.
I’m not saying us Christians are perfect, but sourness out of our hearts, and then our mouths, should be very few and far between. We all slip up, but when we do speak evil to others, we are quick to be convicted and immediately rectify ourselves by apologizing and by learning from our mistakes. Those who don’t do this are in a wrong place with their hearts, and need to really find and be changed by Jesus.
Romans 2:5 states, “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.” This is a pretty clear-cut statement. Bad hearts translate into wrath. It makes me wonder why some Christians have such hard hearts? Or should we even call them Christians? I don’t know. Personally, I believe the heart equates the faith one has.
Hard hearts lead to destruction and open the door for Satan to occupy and use them for evil. They profess themselves as Christians, and yet, they spew forth hate and display evil tendencies towards others. This can be seen by such things as arrogance, judgment of others, and uncaring attitudes.
Do you ever see how some people at church show arrogance, because they own the newest and more expensive car? Or they avoid people who aren’t dressed as they are or who look a bit disheveled? I see it every Sunday as I observe people while serving as a greeter. It is sad. Instead of going out of their way to show love and concern for those who look downtrodden, they avoid them. They talk amongst others who are more like themselves about so and so looking this way or that way. What a shame! Don’t get me wrong; there are more that do the opposite, but it’s the ones who show discontent that are stuck in our minds.
As followers of Jesus, we need to have a heart for people regardless of what they look like or how they talk or act. Jesus showed love and concern for all people. He didn’t gravitate to the wealthy or healthy; he sought after those who were broken and poor. We need to emulate this in how we interact with others, with a true and pure heart. If we don’t have a pure heart, our actions are for nil, and people can see right through it. More so, God knows. Having a pure heart for others is not something to be forced, if we are in Christ, but will be a natural extension of ourselves, showing the love of Christ in us.
1 Samuel, 16:7 says, “But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”
God looks at our hearts, not what we have, how nice our hair looks, how big our house is, or what we wear. No, He looks at our hearts. Our hearts show what we truly have inside of us, and our standing with Him. There is no gray area for what the heart reflects. There is either a pure heart or an evil heart. One cannot say they have a good heart most of the time. It is either all of the time, or it is fake.
People can try and pretend to others on the outside that they have a pure heart, but their true selves will show through eventually and will be on display for all to see. They will reap what they sow; and if it is a sour heart, their lives will mirror it; maybe not today or tomorrow, but God has a way of revealing the true nature of a person.
When we become a child of God through accepting Christ in our lives, our hearts will change. If hearts don’t change, one must question the honesty of a proclamation of conversion. At the acceptance of Christ, with the change of our hearts, and as we grow in Christ, so too will our hearts for others grow. Our pure hearts will be a motivator for the good works Christ desires for us to do. Our pure hearts will give us emotions for the well-being of others. Our hearts will drive us to help others.
Matthew 5:8 says “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” Pretty clear statement. Flip this upside down – Those without a pure heart will not see God. Makes sense. Having a pure heart is key to walking with and being with Christ. Christ’s pure heart saved us all from damnation once we accepted Him in our hearts and lives. There is no wiggle room on this. Matthew 5:8 makes this clear: If you don’t have a pure heart, you won’t have God.
Luke 10:27 says to love God with all our heart, soul, and strength. Since God is the purest of pure, we cannot love Him with anything other than a loving heart. Jesus charges us to love with our heart. How can we love without a loving heart? We can’t. We may have empathy or sympathy, but these cannot be confused with having a loving heart. I may feel bad and sympathize with someone who is facing a hardship that I also endured, but if I don’t help them out of love, what kind of heart do I have?
Love is a blanket of comfort to those facing hardships. Those who have a loving heart will wrap others in a blanket of love.
If our hearts are closed and not filled with love, what good are we to God? Not good at all. No works or deeds will replace the need of love in the heart. Think about where your heart is, where it was, and where you want it to go. Your heart is capable of endless love for Jesus and for others. If you have a sour or hard heart because of a situation or a hurt, or you are just plain grumpy, it’s time to open your heart to love. Love grows into forgiveness, gives hope to others, and draws you nearer to Christ.