The heart is…
“OKAY, I’M TIRED OF THE SCREWING AROUND! YOU KIDS HAVE FIFTEEN MINUTES TO GET THIS VAN CLEAN! DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?”
(Five minutes later and after hearing giggling.)
“I SAID STOP MESSING AROUND AND GET THIS VAN CLEAN! I WANT IT SPOTLESS!”
(Two minutes later, after more giggling.)
“ALRIGHT, THAT’S IT! I SAID GET THIS VAN CLEAN!” “YOU GUYS ARE LEAVING IN AN HOUR FOR THE WEEKEND AND I WANT ALL OF YOUR JUNK OUT OF THIS VAN!”
“Okay, Daddy.” (Through tears.)
The heart is more…
“It’s alright this stuff happens… No I’m not that upset… They didn’t take too much – just a couple of briefcases with some school papers and some worship CDs… They only busted out the locks on both front doors. I’ll just take it to the mechanic on Monday… I’m not really that angry for some reason… Nah, I figure this kind of stuff just happens and I’m trying to seek God in it.”
The heart is more devious than any other thing, and is depraved; who can pierce its secrets…
Okay, what the heck just happened? Two moments of my weekend, separated by a day and completely disconnected from each other. The first moment is trying to get my two oldest children to clean out the family van before they leave for Grandma and Grandpa’s house for the weekend. The second moment is discovering that my car is broken into in broad daylight at our apartment complex.
Two distinct events. Yet, somehow God formed them into a frightening window into my soul. How depraved is my heart that I can unleash monstrous anger upon my kids over a cluttered van and not feel a thing when unknown perpetrators violate my boundaries and cause hundreds of dollars of damage and hours of inconvenience.
It’s utterly stupid on so many levels! A dirty van isn’t worth that kind of anger. Also, my kids were about to leave for the weekend and the last memory they have of me is now seared into their minds by my rage. The entire scenario is ass-backwards. While my attempt to forgive those who broke into my car may have been commendable, it’s wasted on someone who is unseen and unrepentant. It’s not that they don’t deserve forgiveness. It’s just that all the while, two little children who adore me get to receive the raw end of my anger for something insignificant. If anyone deserved mercy and forgiveness, it was my kids. Especially over something as trivial as a dirty van.
So, what is wrong with my heart? It’s devious and depraved. And now it makes me suspect that my attempts at forgiveness may not be forgiveness at all. What if both events were just my sinful and corrupted attempts to maintain control. I can control my kids through anger. Let’s face it. I got a clean van because of my rage. And since I can’t control unseen thieves, I simply detach myself emotionally and convince myself to think I’m actually forgiving them. That way, they can’t rock my world.
Control. Someone who is dying to self-will has no control. So if these events reveal that my spirituality is just a disguise for emotional gymnastics in an attempt to maintain control, then Jeremiah the Prophet was right – my heart is more devious than any other thing. Even my pursuit of Christlikeness can become corrupted without my conscious knowledge. Even my quest to see God can become easily deluded. Oh what a wretched man I am!
The heart is more devious than any other thing, and is depraved; who can pierce its secrets. I, Yahweh, search the heart, test the motives, to give each person what his conduct and his actions deserve.
Father, thank you for searching my heart. Thank you for breaking through my delusions with a painful revelation of reality. And in the midst of my delusions and corruption, please forgive me. Forgive me for my desire for control. Forgive me for blasting my children. Forgive me for not forgiving them even though they forgave me. Forgive me for being deluded even in my pursuit of Christ. And through these events and your grace, teach me to forgive as you do. Amen.