Above all else, guard your heart. For everything you do flows from it. – Proverbs 4:23
Everything comes down to the position and motivation of the heart. Everything.
Jesus taught this when he says, “…but the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean’. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’.” (Matthew 15:18-19)
The statement that evil thoughts come from the heart is rather profound, as we usually assume thoughts reside only in our heads. And while it’s true that not all our thoughts are our own (lies do get whispered into our ears), it is our heart that is either attracted to or repulsed by them. And in the end, that which we speak comes from our hearts, and it is our hearts that determine how clean or unclean we truly are.
Loving hearts seek to know and understand the truth before coming to a conclusion. Unloving hearts pass judgement before seeking understanding. Unloving hearts also project their wrongs onto others rather than admitting and repenting of wrong themselves. Unloving hearts refuse to address their conviction and will often accuse others of being “judgmental” for speaking honestly and openly with them.
Is it any wonder Jesus taught us not to point out the speck in someone’s eye before removing the plank in our own? He didn’t say “never point it out.” He just said to check ourselves first so we can approach all matters with a pure heart. Because when, and only when, our hearts are right can we come to someone in love and concern about theirs. We are called to speak the truth, in love, and to sharpen one another as iron sharpens iron. We are even called to rebuke those who are stubborn in their sin and, if they are causing harm to others, we are to remove them from our inner circles so as to protect ourselves and those we love.
Unfortunately, most people in today’s world throw around accusations and judgements to people they don’t even know, never took the time to talk to, and have no actually love or concern for. People get a rush of god-like delusion from casting judgements on everything and then calling it “free speech.” People with planks so big they can’t even see straight seeking only to expose the specks in everyone else’s eyes.
Christ calls us to be different. May we, as followers of Christ, be ever more wise and discerning in the purification of our own hearts, and leave the hearts of others to the real Judge, who knows and sees all.