From the Heart

“Good people produce good from the store of good within themselves; and evil people produce evil from the evil within them. For the words that the mouth utters come from the overflowing of the heart.” — Luke 6:45, REB

In the ancient world, the heart was where thinking was supposed to occur. Feeling occured in the stomach and the head… was there. When someone in the Bible is referred to as hard-hearted, it means they are stupid as opposed to the common interpretation that they lack compassion (though there is a correlation).

So in the sixth chapter of Luke, when Jesus is in the midst of a sermon, he drops a lovely nugget (more like ten) for today’s seeker. He speaks of our good and bad produce, that they “come from the overflowing of the heart.” In today’s terminology, we might say that such thing come from the overflowing of our mind.

What we occupy ourselves with internally will always manifest externally.

If we are bitter, insecure, wrathful, hateful, or prejudiced in our mind, we will behave accordingly. Likewise, if we are in the habit of internally practicing forgiveness, compassion, love, acceptance, and gratitude, our lives with bear evidence of such meditations. Where we place our energy is important, as it determines what we contribute to this world.

Let’s go forward with a mind that will help us produce something good in our lives. It’s so easy in the current political and social climate to become full of self-righteous negativity. But no matter how justified we may feel in our darkness, it’s still darkness, and it doesn’t help.

Instead, let the Light shine. First, let it shine within you. Once we do that, it will inevitably shine through us for others.

Peace be with you!

In Your Heart

No, the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe.Deuteronomy 30:14, NRSV

The most fights I have seen between individual and congregated Christians has been about “what to do.” A topic is somehow brought up and bickering ensues about what single response God has to the slew of possible human complications faced by believers today. Someone pulls a verse or chapter, someone else appeals to tradition, and another parrots what the pastor said over coffee that one time.

But what about your heart?

While Deuteronomy is a re-iteration of Jewish law, this teaching from chapter 30, verses 11-14 indicates that what is “right” needn’t be difficult to determine. In fact, if we pair it with Jesus’ understanding of the Law and Prophets, namely that honoring these is to simply and selflessly love God and all others (Matthew 22:34-40), we have the perfect guide for discipleship.

If what we decide to do is rooted in the love of God and others that challenges us to look beyond ourselves, chances are it is right and good. We need not cross the sea or ascend to heaven, nor do we need to obsess over stone tablets, parchment, or texts. When we connect to that of God within us and seek that of God in everyone, we are believing and acting rightly.

For today, let us allow the love of God to penetrate our hearts. Let us connect to the image and Spirit He has already gifted to us since our creation. Finally, let us act in accordance with the law that is on our hearts and lips to observe, loving God and respecting the Good He has placed in every person.

Peace be with you!