Just yesterday I had a thought and decided I probably should not give it a voice. But then today I did my reading in Matthew and realized I needed to talk. I’ll talk to myself. You can listen if you’d like.
After reading a few things on the internet yesterday, here is the thought that popped into my head: “Most of the christian bashing I hear and read, is done by other christians.” Being a christian myself, you can see why I thought it best to keep that thought to myself. And then I read Matthew 12:33-37, and one line leaped off of the page and slammed right into my brain, giving me what is at least a headache, but may quite possibly be a concussion. I should probably skip today’s nap, just in case.
“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Some of the things I have read, heard and spoken in the past few months, even years, are telling on the heart of the Church, on my own heart. We bash pastors, churches and fellow christians. It seems we are always on the lookout for what christians are doing wrong, bringing into question whether they are “really” christians, or at a minimum, what kind of christian they are. Of course, because we are, after all, christians, we wrap it all up, put a big bow on it and call it “speaking the truth in love”. And then we go back to adjusting our robes and polishing our gavels.
To be fair, we don’t always go to that extreme. We keep a tighter rein on our tongues by limiting ourselves to complaining and grumbling against our brothers and sisters. We question their motives and their methods, and their true devotion, as though we ourselves are the barometer for all things right and true.
I do this. Me. I say ‘we’, because I’ve listened to ‘we’ so I know it’s ‘we’, but right now God is dealing with the ‘I’ in ‘we’.
They say that we can’t know what is in another person’s heart. Jesus begs to differ. All we have to do is listen. I have listened to the overflow of my own heart, and I am grieved. I am especially pained by the fact that I have caused others to get caught in my overflow.
Based on what I’ve seen, I do not have a tongue problem. I have a heart problem. I don’t want a heart like mine, I want a heart like His. So I listen to the overflow of God’s heart for His Church…and begin to seek an exchange of hearts. Mine for His.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of His body.” Ephesians 5:25-28
Today, I apologize to His Church, His Bride, especially those who have found themselves caught in my overflow. I have not loved you as He has loved you. Today, I am going after His heart for you, because I want to change the overflow of mine.