Heart, Purity of

Heart, Purity of

by Rubel Shelly

Published in LoveLines (Aug. 3, 1994)

Listen to Your Heart

Practically all of us accept the proverb — quoted and used by Jesus — that a tree is known by its fruit. The point of the proverb is that a person’s actions reveal to an observing world the innermost secrets of his heart.

Since proverbs are only "rules of thumb," however, it is certainly possible for one to be misled about another. The church has its occasional hypocrite. Marriage has its occasional gigolo. People mask their true feelings by smiling when they want to cry, giving gifts when they are basically stingy, or feigning love in order to exploit.

A much more reliable dictum about the heart is this one from Proverbs: "As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man" (27:19). The problem with it, however, is that it requires such strident honesty.

While you may be fully skeptical of knowing my heart in spite of the deed you see me do, I look at my heart from the inside out. If I am willing to search deeply and earnestly, albeit with a degree of pain, I can know my heart.

And what is worth knowing about one’s heart? What are the things which allow you to see a true reflection of the real you? Here are a few indicators. You’ll think of more.

What do you think about most?

What do you want more than anything else?

Beyond the necessities, what do you spend money for?

What sort of humor makes you laugh?

Who are the people you admire most?

Who are the people whose company you enjoy most?

There is a tendency in all of us to give the answers to questions that we think people want to hear. The beauty of asking these questions is, however, that the person who has to distinguish between his immediate and honest answer on the one hand and the one he thinks is most proper to give knows he is playing games. He may fool others, but he knows his own heart. And he is aware that God knows it as well.

Only that man or woman who knows the real person within can set that true self before God for redemption. Socrates’ "Know thyself" is more Christian than Greek. "Examine yourself to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you — unless, of course, you fail the test?" (2 Cor. 13:5a).

If you want to get in touch with the real you, listen to your heart.

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