Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Overflow of the Heart

For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. (Matthew 12:34 NIV)

We all have those moments in life of which we are not proud.  One of my many occurred a few weeks after I married Kathleen. I’d love to bore you with our story but I’ll exercise some restraint.  This was my second marriage as my first wife of 38 years had died of cancer.  This was Kathleen’s first.

I had come home for lunch and the phone rang.  The caller was Kathleen’s former landlord.  To infer that this gentleman redefined “sleazebag” would be a gross understatement.  After a fairly brief exchange I began screaming as loudly as I could.  Though he was some 70 miles away he was probably able to hear me without benefit of the phone’s receiver.  At the time I was somewhat amused that this man who didn’t have an ethical bone in his body was telling me, an elder and employee of a church, to calm down.

To my dismay the look of horror on my new wife’s face was one I will never forget.  She had to be thinking “is this the mild mannered, kind, gentle, caring, Godly man that I was dating?  If so, where did he go?”

To make matters even worse, though this was not one of my finer moments, I rather enjoyed my rant.

Now I could give you all kinds of rationale about why this weasel deserved whatever verbal abuse I could muster but I’d be hard pressed to defend why I took so much pleasure in this combat.  It made me look at my heart.  What did I expect to accomplish by yelling at the top of my voice?  What kind of example was I setting for the way a Christian behaves under stress?  Where did that anger come from?  Why didn’t I trust that the Lord would work this out?

Most of us have people in our lives that push our buttons. We let them get under our skin, we let them into the core of who we are and the outcome is not pretty.  So if you find yourself yelling at someone, using harsh language, and/or saying unkind things the verse in Matthew says we need look no further than our hearts.  Our heart consists of our mind, will and emotions.  We need to ask ourselves when we are out of control, “what is it I want?” and “why?” 

Was my pride wounded?  Am I concerned about what someone else will think of me?  Do I just want things to go my way?  The list of questions is endless but rest assured that when you respond in a negative way or experience a negative emotion your heart is sending up a warning flag.  If you truly can’t pin point the issue ask God to reveal it to you.

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