Proverbs 17:3 -The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,but the Lord tests the heart.
A friend of mine just went through a stress test for his heart. He was sure that he didn't have anything wrong with it. He eats right, exercises, and monitors his vitals every morning. For 58 years old he is a model of good health... so he thought. But his stress test revealed that he has some minor issues with his heart and further testing is required.
There has been a lot of talk about prejudice and bigotry this week since the tragic events of Charlottesville, VA. It is ironic that sometimes those who condemn others of intolerance and bigotry often have the same seeds of hate in their heart. I find myself getting angry at the injustice, the hate, the murder, the unrighteousness, and blatant sin that is ramped in our society today. I often wonder if the world has gone out of it's mind. Sin and maddness are only a thin layer apart.
I want to say that this is a "righteous indignation" that I have inside me. But the Bible reminds me that there are none who are righteous (Ro 3:10-18; Ec 7:20; Ps 5:9; 14:1-3; 36:1; 53:1-3; 140:3;10:7; Is 59:7,8) except Jesus Christ. The righteousness that I have is not from me but from Christ who makes me righteous. Therefore, I cannot have a righteous indignation. I just have indignation...and that's not much different than having anger and hate in my heart.
I see King David wrestled with these things too. Psalm 139 is a beautiful poem of David's fight with trying to be in line with God's will and his way. In it he says, "If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty! They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies" (Ps 139:19-22).
It's easy to get into the habit of hating the haters. But that puts us in danger of taking God's will into our own hands. David concludes with this prayer: "Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Ps 139:23-24).
As I pray for my friends heart issues I am reminded to pray for my spiritual heart as well. I am praying that God will search my heart and cleanse me of all the unrighteousness that has settled there. I pray that he will fill my heart with the love of Jesus. I pray that he will rid me of prejudice, bigotry, and hate. I pray that he will let the love of Jesus shine through me so that some might see it and turn from their ways too.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear God, It is easy to be indignant with those who are perverting your ways and using your name to justify their actions. But Father, help me to shine the light of love, grace, and hope that comes from you. You loved me so much that you gave your Son, Jesus Christ, to die in my place so that I could have eternal life with you. You did the same for all who would call on the name of Jesus Christ. It is in the name of Jesus Christ that I pray. AMEN!