Sunday, July 15, 2007

What Can I Say?

9 “The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?
10 “I, the LORD, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give to each man according to his ways,
According to the results of his deeds.
Jeremiah 17:5,9-10

“Winning the hearts and minds…”
Hearts and minds. The heart, being deceitful, can get you to believe things which are not true, and to believe them with such passion that the mind doesn’t even stand a chance. For someone to win both hearts and minds, their emotional appeal must also stand after being scrutinized critically.
I received a letter from an attorney who wants to be my state Senator. He appeals only to the heart, suggesting that I should be outraged at the abuses perpetuated by this Bush administration. As it is hard to tell the difference anymore, the attorney is a Democrat.
Among his emotional points:
“I have seen our country entrenched in a war we should not have entered, U.S. Attorneys fired for doing their jobs, veterans unable to get treatment for wounds received in defense of our nation, the erosion of human rights.”
See what I mean? That type of stuff works on the level of emotions, not rational thought. It’s on the same level as “DWB-Driving While Black”, emotional shorthand for racist police harassment.
Politicians (and attorneys, and salesmen, writers, political pundits, bloggers, news readers and editors, ad-some-more-nauseum) can make entire careers out of misrepresenting or fabricating facts. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad trumpets lies and insane rhetoric against Israel and the United States, echoed by Hugo Chavez, and they continue to find willing hearers as they make emotionally charged lies which, if looked at critically, lose all credibility. But they and all other liars who play upon the heartstrings with emotional rhetoric are in big trouble:

“I, the LORD, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give to each man according to his ways,
According to the results of his deeds.”
There are going to be a lot of people who wish they could change the result of their deeds.
And I include Christians in this also. They may be saved, but they use the Grace God has given them to exploit the emotions of both believers and unbelievers.
As I’ve written before, I was in Pentecostal churches for years, though I am now a Baptist. I have seen emotional appeals which tug at the heart but don’t stand up well under critical scrutiny. Some teachings were simplistic, and ‘Worship’ was an emotional buffet with everyone stuffing themselves on ‘feelings’.
As has been stated many times, emotions are supposed to ‘season’ our lives, making life taste better, be more enjoyable. If a person lives a life led by their emotions, they are a train wreck in progress, constantly in crises. Their heart, deceitful above all things and desperately sick, rules and ruins their lives.
Where the scripture says that the Lord searches the heart and tests the mind, I believe it means that the Spirit of God, working in us, keeps us honest with ourselves and each other. He searches through my heart and finds something I believe on an emotional level:
“Doug, is this an honest emotion? Does your mind tell you that it is critically true?”

“No-I wish it were true, but I know it isn’t.”
“What do you do with this emotional belief, Doug?”
“Sigh. Toss it out.”
Be honest in all your dealings with man, and God will be honored.
If your heart tells you one thing, and your mind another, ask God to show you what is true.
And stick with it, even if the entire world tells you that God is wrong-God is not wrong; my heart and mind agree on that truth.

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