Right Action, Wrong Heart

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I will never forget the day I boastfully, pridefully, and arrogantly patted myself on the back for cooking dinner for someone who was mistreating me on a regular basis. I wish I could say I only gloated. I did not. Pride has a way of building itself up pridefully. Pride breeds more pride, doesn’t it, unless it gets stopped in its tracks. Needless to say, gloating was insufficient back in those days. I got on my big-mouth PA system and told my friends what a good loving woman I was to fix dinner for the person. The only trouble was there was not a single ounce of anything loving about my act, and most certainly not when it came to my heart.

I foolishly, and of course pridefully, figured that my right action earned me a big gold star. Not to mention an A-plus. When the Bible says love does not “puff itself (1 Corinthians 13:4)” up, clearly the Bible wasn’t taking me into account. For I wasn’t just puffing myself up back in those days. One little poke of a needle, and I could burst right open. With everything but love. Being puffed up was an understatement.

Now for anyone who has ever tasted my cooking, one would realize quickly enough that the recipient of that dinner I made all that time ago would not have thought too much of my “loving” action. After all, I don’t cook. I boil oatmeal, I cook for the dogs once in a while, and I have been known to use the microwave on occasion. Suffice it to say my “loving” action wasn’t altogether too tasty. To say the least.

But truly, had my heart been filled with love, my cooking might have earned a smile from its recipient. Not even a chance. For my heart was not only filled with pride. It was filled with anger, bitterness, hurt, rejection, resentment, and, yes, vengeance. What a tasty combination, huh? Bad cooking and a heart boiling over with sin. Topped off by pride pie for dessert.

I have long since sought forgiveness for my sin back then, both from the Lord and from the recipient of my infamous cooking and equally infamous messed up heart. But the memory remains with me, for which I am grateful. For it is my reminder that right actions don’t make up for a wrong heart. Trying to look good, or to do good, on the outside doesn’t make up for a heart full of wickedness. And pride always fails, as I am reminded daily in my desperate desire to live a life of love and humility.

Today, I am not only vigilant in trying to take the the right actions. I am vigilant in continuously bringing my heart before the Lord and repenting of all the wrong junk I accumulate each and every day. For I want nothing more in loving and serving the Lord, and loving my neighbor as myself, than to have a pure heart for Him to pour Himself through to a lost and broken world. Right actions and the right heart.

Even if I still can’t cook.

37And as he spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat.38And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first washed before dinner. 39And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness. 40Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also?41But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you.
42But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. 43Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets. 44Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them.” Luke 11:37-44 KJV
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