Those are some honest words, some very honest words. So much of what we do or don’t do is driven by external controls—societal, religious or familial. We conform to behavioral codes because our environment would crunch us if we didn’t, but this doesn’t mean we are pure in heart. How we behave and what we carry around in our hearts can be two different things. In fact, we can look pretty good under the constraints of society while being filled with confusion and lawlessness.
What would I do if I knew I could get away with it? What would I do if I knew nobody would know or be able to stop me or punish me in the end? This is an important question to continually ask myself. This question gets to the core of who I really am and what really matters. Jesus taught that as a person thinks in their heart, so are they… and that it is the heart, above all else, that He wants to change and heal.
God cares about what we think and hide in our hearts. David said it best after his disastrous affair with Bathsheba in Psalms 51… [God] desires truth in my inward being. Yes. God repeats again and again in the Bible that His sees, loves and wants to live in our hearts… not just our neighborhoods. Behavior is not His focus (although acting well benefits others… keeping our ugliness from hurting or maiming their lives and does matter). My heart, the real me in there, that’s what matters to God.
I learned a lot from Clinton’s confession. It got me thinking that I need to stay focused on my heart and its journey to wholeness and love. Instead of conforming to life’s restraints to avoid a scarlet letter for this or that, I want to stay focused on my inward being, my heart, the place where God is at work. I want to be the same person I am all alone in the dark, that I’d be if five thousand people were watching my every move.
And when those times come where I can do something that is unhealthy and dishonoring of God, myself and my commitments to others, I want to make the same choices I’d make if there were no foreseeable consequences. This is what God wants for me after all… and what He promises to give me… that new heart and right spirit. Anything less is a sell-out.
Clarissa Worley Sproul writes from the Pacific Northwest.
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