Friday, January 16, 2009
-by Sharlyn Guthrie
The Heart speaks
How could you be so ignorant, my friend,
when you agreed your graceless hand to lend?
Did you believe for once you might succeed
-escape misfortune through a noble deed?
Now you have failed, not only to impress,
but to avoid making a royal mess.
Not only did you let me play the fool,
but opened up this heart to ridicule.
Don’t you recall the words you often heard?
Your father, teachers, and your friends concurred.
They said you never would amount to much;
things seem to go to pieces with your touch.
You may as well go lick your wounds and weep,
or throw yourself upon a garbage heap.
Preserve this in your memory and then
you won’t risk trying anything again.
The Spirit speaks
O heart, be still and hear my whispering voice.
You’re my delight; a child of mine by choice.
I saw your unformed substance and I knew
how best to mold you . Please believe it’s true.
The error that you’ve made is very small.
It’s hardly worth your mentioning at all.
So calm your anxious thoughts and right your wrongs.
I’ll salve you with my presence and with songs.
I’ve heard the lies hurled at you, precious heart
-lies striking you just like a flaming dart.
You listen, and yourself harshly condemn.
Who do you think is greater, I or them?
I came to heal you, heart, and bind your sores;
abundant life I offer you, and more.
Draw near with confidence; forget the past.
Let truth assure you that my love will last.
“It is by our actions that we know we are living in the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before the Lord, even if our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” I John 3: 19-20 (New Living Translation)
It was only a year ago or so that I took notice of these verses as I was reading in First John. The words, “even if our hearts condemn us,” jumped off the page and did a little dance before my eyes. Well, not literally, but I remember stopping and reading those verses over and over again. I finally had a phrase to describe the sense of doubt, guilt, shame, and unworthiness that sometimes tries to swallow me.
Obviously, when I have sinned I have good reason to feel all of those things, but what I’m referring to is not conviction of sin or godly sorrow. It is aptly described here as the voice of my own condemning heart. Even after much soul searching and prayer the feeling of condemnation hangs around, sometimes for days, stealing my joy and threatening to render me ineffective in my witness to others.
I know now that I’m not alone in this experience. Many of us must experience times in our walk with the Lord when the voice of our own heart chisels away at our confidence. Otherwise, John wouldn’t have included these verses in his letter. Isn’t it incredible to know that God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything?