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The Heart of the Matter

“For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

I once heard someone say that some of the nicest, honest people you will ever meet are covered in tattoos, and some of the most judgmental people you will ever meet attend church on Sunday. While the bible does warn against wolves in sheep clothing, which speaks of false prophets (Matthew 7:15) we must be careful how we judge people, situations, and institutions. Most people do not wear their hearts on their sleeves. If they do, it may not be an exact replica of the inner-man.

Most men judge by what they see: how a person dresses, the way they act, even the words they speak. Have you ever spoken a word in a moment of anger, and then felt bad about it? For the person who hears that word, they may use that against you and immediately judge you for it. Especially if you are a church goer. The world looks to the church to set a standard, and most times we fall short because we are human. We should strive wherever possible to follow after Jesus and watch our mouths because we are responsible for the words we speak. The bible says we should not let vulgarity and filthy talk be a part of our speech (Ephesians 5:4). This isn’t even referring to taking the Lords name in vain, which we are to also be careful of because you in essence place a curse on yourself when you do (Exodus 20:7). For the number of people who I come across that are unbelievers, Jesus is the most uttered name used on the earth among both believers and non believers. It’s either used as a curse word, or a blessing.

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21

Our words have the ability to cause peace or disaster. The bible says that a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger (Proverbs 15:1). I have been at fault for many of these things, and it takes every ounce of God to control my tongue (James 3:5-6). Have you ever said something that you knew was going to cause strife, and you said it anyway. Did you feel good about it at first? How did you feel after you said it? You just had to get that word in. But then after the damage is done, you are left cleaning up the mess.

SCARS

There are people in church with tattoos (let’s not focus solely on tattoos) but since i’m talking about a statement I heard I’m just using this as an example. Tattoos are in essence scars, most use to represent the death of a loved one, or something they have gone through, or a creative way to tell the world who you are: but all too often, it’s a marred image or half story of what is really going on, on the inside. Because the church is made up of people in the world, you will see lots of different types of people, even tattooed scarred people. It’s not a perfect institution, it is a place for the sick and the needy (Mark 2:17). Jesus did not come to help people who were perfect and had it all together. When you come to Jesus you are to come as you are, and allow the spirit of God to transform you. Not make yourself perfect then present yourself to Jesus. Jesus was the only perfect one that ever lived. He is our righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30). Jesus tattoos are on His hands. Scars that represent us. God chooses people with scars to place His spirit in, because it’s through us His light shines the brightest.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” John 20:27

ALL LIVES MATTER!

The world is made up of all different types of people. Some with tattoos are nice and some are not. You cannot judge by a persons tattoos because they are only skin deep. A person who is burned and has a distorted face, or a person who has a deformity, even elderly people are all judged in some way. The moment we see a person we create a judgement. Black lives matter is the wrong statement for today. “All lives matter!” You also cannot judge people based acts either. We can act one way and appear very different on the inside. That’s why it’s a shock to people when they turn on the news to find that nice dentist everyone admired and respected turns out to be a serial killer. Or the person who lived a life of poverty who learned from their parents that survival is based on stealing. Only God knows what is on the heart of man. We have all fallen short of the glory of God because of this fallen world we live in, and need God to make us righteous. Though we are subject to fall even after we come to God, so we need the Holy Spirit guiding us every day. We must never use our weakness either to justify our own behavior, because while we are not perfect we have a God who is, and is willing to help us overcome. Nothing is too hard for God, even our greatest temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13).

DO NOT JUDGE

Judge not, that ye be not judged. Matthew 7:1

Matthew 7:1 is the most wrongfully interpreted verse. People take this to mean that at no point in time are you ever to judge someone else. The word is what judges the hearts and intents of men. But all too often we let our own emotions, ego, and pride judge others. This simply means the measure at which you choose to judge others by, is how you will be judged. Are you edifying someone in love? Or are you choosing to knock them down. The saying that we must be careful not to judge because everyone standing near us may be facing battles we know nothing about is true, but we are not to use this verse as an excuse to sin and get away with it. Saying hey don’t worry about it God knows your weakness. NO. If you know what is right and intentionally do the wrong thing, you are going to be judged by the word of God. God chastises those He loves, because He wants the best life for us as any loving father would. We give children rules to live by and every parent is different, but if your child goes against those rules, how do you teach them the right way? There is a right and a wrong way to edify. One that creates fear based actions, or one where you deal with the heart, and out of love you see a transformation. Only God knows your heart, so no man can accurately judge. We can only edify in love BY the word of God not our own intents, for only God can see the hearts of men (Hebrews 4:12). Check yourself before you check someone else, you may be picking issues out in someone else because you also are struggling with the same thing. Usually what you judge in someone else is a reflection of something you have personally struggled with. Be careful to edify others in love or simply pray for them, because sometimes the worst thing you can do when someone is struggling is point out their faults. They don’t need that. Put yourself in their shoes first, because we also are subject to fall.

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Galatians 6:1

LOVE ONE ANOTHER

The only common thing we can agree on is to love one another regardless of faults. Stay humble. It is not a feeling but a choice, and the more we practice these proverbial truths we will find more peace in our lives. It involves forgiveness and long suffering which is the love of God. If God forgave us and loved us beyond faults, we too need to show that same respect to others (1 Corinthians 13, Matthew 6:15). Love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8, Proverbs 10:12). Jesus love for us, His death, covered every sin and failure we would ever face. We need to exact that same type of love. Not saying we do not help our brothers and sisters when they fall into sin, we just need to be more careful how we approach the matters of the heart. That person who is struggling may be who God is trying to reach out to. We need to get back to the heart of the matter. We are all different, but one thing we have in common is that we are all human. We all live and we all die. We all have the ability to love and the ability to hate. We need to learn how to love, because we can only love with the degree we have been loved. Not everyone has been gifted with loving families. Jesus can break that generational curse if we let Him.

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite. Nelson Mandela

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