Sunday, October 30, 2016

Jeremiah 17:9 -- On Hearts and Desperation

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"
Jeremiah 17:9

The whole idea that our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked is an interesting one in a society where we often hear "trust your heart" as a comforting statement.  We are used to movie plots that justify almost anything in the name of love and that show us that sin is okay, as long as you really care.

Luckily, there is an answer to the question "who can know it?"  The answer is in the very next verse, where God tells us that *he* searches the heart, and blesses us according to our choices.  God knows our hearts, and our desires, good and bad.  He knows that we have some desperate wickedness in us, and how to help us get it out, and replace it with some goodness and kindness and the kind of love that isn't urgent and selfish, but gentle and generous.

One solution that God offers is found in Alma 37:36, which says in part "let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever."  Unlike the other targets of our deceitful and desperate hearts, turning to and loving God "desperately" actually makes sense.  We need him so much that our lives, our souls, our joy, our peace, and our very existence in this world depends on it.  And as scary as that kind of cliff-diving love is, God can handle it, save us from the rocks, and help us learn not to be deceitful, not to be wicked, and how to turn our confused and desperate emotions into something healthy, joyous, and edifying instead.  It's another way to say love God and then love your neighbor, as we hear elsewhere in the scriptures, but it emphasizes the learning that has to take place with God before we even know how to love our neighbors. :)

Today, let's look to Christ's perfect example, and remember *not* to trust our hearts until they are in tune with the Spirit.  Let's put God first, and let him teach us how to treat others, and how to love as he loves all of us.

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