Friday, July 18, 2008

The motives of the heart

I recently listened to Love Rejoices in the Truth, part of Darin Hufford's first Love Series. This series is the teaching that is the basis for his book The God's Honest Truth.

In it, Darin tells the story of a young man who was part of the church he pastored at one time. This young man had drifted away and gotten involved in sin. When Darin spoke to the young man’s father, the man assured him that this was a temporary glitch in his son’s life and that his son would return so he wasn’t worried. Darin explained that this father could speak this way because he knew his son’s heart and knew that really wasn’t who he was. Instead of focusing on behavior he was was looking at his son's heart and he saw only good there. That story perfectly describes what Father has been teaching me.

Recently, I had a discussion with someone about a friend of mine. This particular person was making judgments about my friend’s motivation. Knowing this friend’s heart, I knew that what was said was not true so I shared from my perspective as a friend. Thinking about it later, I realized how important it is to know someone’s heart. It’s easy to make judgements regarding a person’s motivations based on their behavior but unless we know the persons heart, we’ll probably be wrong. Things aren’t always the way they seem and we can assume wrong motivations when the motives are pure and good.

This can also work in the opposite direction when we assume good motives when the heart is filled with evil intent. As I thought about this, I thought of the time I spent in an abusive church. I remember talking to the pastor and seeing how warm his eyes were as they filled with love and concern for me and how gentle was his voice. That lasted until the day that I sent him an email questioning something that had been done in the church under his authority. Then, I saw a drastic change in his behavior. He called me to discuss the email and instead of a gentle voice, I felt like I had heard the hissing of a snake. It became clearer and clearer to me that the warm eyes and gentle voice masked a heart that was filled with wrong motivations.

I believe this explains, at least in part, our skewed perception of God. We look at the God of the OT and see a God who seems to delight in evil and yet part of the 1st Corinthians scripture that Darin uses as the basis of the love series says that love doesn’t delight in evil. So, if God is love, then his motivation can’t just be to whack people when we get him mad at us. Somehow, his motivation has to be tied in with love.

I haven’t figured it all out yet and maybe I never will but I’m seeing more and more the importance of knowing Father’s heart because until we do we'll continue to see him as a big angry God who's always looking for a reason to whack us. Yet, the truth is that things aren’t always what they seem and what may look like anger is really his love being displayed in order to bring healing and correction.

I want to know the truth. I want to know my Father's heart. I want to be so convinced that he loves me that no matter what I see, I'll not misjudge his character. I want to know that what may appear to be judgement is actually the actions of a loving Father bringing correction to a daughter that he loves.


Tracy Simmons said...

Aida, beautiful, just beautiful! I've been wrestling with God and the awful thing he orders people to do in the old testament. I've come to one conclusion: That if I cannot see the love of God in a passage of scripture, then I'm not seeing it clearly. Greg Boyd has helped me in the journey by his blog postings over the last month. What a wonderful journey we are on: It always leads us back to the truth that God is love. I'm so glad you've come into my life, Aida! You are a blessing.

Deb said...

Hi Aida....this is a test :-).

Katherine Gunn said...

Thanks for this, Aida. A good reminder for me right now. ;-)

And Tracy - thanks - that is wisdom - the concept that maybe we're not seeing a passage clearly. A couple months ago, I was reading a passage in Deuteronomy and I was starting to get that old legalism feeling. I asked God about the things He has been teaching me and how they didn't fit what I was reading. He said the most astonishing thing (to someone who grew up in circles where the Bible is worshipped)... He said, "That command was not written to you. It was written to a specific group of people in a specific situation. You are not one of them. Let go of it." That would send a lot of people I used to know into heretic-calling indignation. But there it is. ;-)

Aida said...

Tracy, I've come to the same conclusion. There's so many things, especially in the OT, that I don't understand but, in spite of that, I'm choosing to believe that God is love and that what he's done is a display of his love.

You're been a blessing to me too. Thanks for your kind words.

Deb, we did it! Yay! How's that for team work?

Katherine, that is awesome! That solves a lot of the mystery. We can learn from what's been written in the Bible but it wasn't written to us. Accepting that is, I believe, a major key in understanding it. Paul himself said that the history of the Jewish people was an example. It was just that and nothing more.

Great comments!

Bino M. said...

Somehow, his motivation has to be tied in with love.

That speaks volumes!

Aida said...

Thanks, Bino. Glad it was an encouragement.

Free Spirit said...

Aida, you hit the nail on the head.

My heart's cry is to know Father's HEART, beyond everything else. It's the only thing that keeps me grounded in love, and I believe that it's only thru those eyes that we'll ever understand anything else about His ways.


Aida said...

Free Spirit, you've described so beautifully what is also the desire of my heart. Thank you for sharing.