“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
Racial tensions in America have risen to a whole new level. The most recent high profile racial faux pas involves a Maryland state legislator was censured for using the “n” word while with a group of people and now refuses to resign. The lawmaker made the derogatory statement about a Maryland district calling it a “n” district. I wonder what the full scope of the conversation was?
She is a 51 year old state delegate representing Harford County, northeast of Baltimore, and should know better. The governor of Maryland has asked her to resign, and of course social media is on fire.
No one expects anyone to use a racial slur today. We’ve supposedly come to far after the civil rights movement to still hold such animosity in our hearts. All too often, many people find themselves having to apologize for racially insensitive comments or actions. What I find interesting is that afterwards the offender feels that their thoughts and motives are being misjudged or their actions misunderstood in response to what is thought to be an unfair assessment of their character or intent.
In a earlier racial issue, the VA governor and state’s attorney were chided for posing in “Blackface” many years ago. The difference with what occurred in VA and the most recent incident is a matter of time. The VA incidents happened over 30 years ago. Although offensive, people can and do change over the years.
What’s the remedy?
After racial slurs or racial infractions people are referred to racial sensitivity training. And that’s good, but is it enough? According to Wikipedia, racial insensitivity training is “Unconscious bias training programs designed to expose people to their unconscious biases, provide tools to adjust automatic patterns of thinking, and ultimately eliminate discriminatory behaviors. A critical component of unconscious bias training is creating awareness for implicit bias.” I assume this refers to the part of the mind and our thought patterns that affects our behavior and emotions.
I personally believe that racism and racial insensitivity is a heart issue. Scripture says the human heart is deceitful and what we speak forth is generated from our heart. God’s Word has much to say about what comes out of our mouths. In essence, what we say is embedded in our hearts:
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?“ (Jer. 17:9). Who can understand the moment when we open our mouths and something stupid, offensive or insensitive pours out? In earnest, I’ve said some things I’ve had to take a step back and questioned why I thought or felt that way. The English Standard Version puts it this way “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” That’s a truth most of us probably don’t want to hear.
In Matthew 12:34 Jesus had a different assessment of the mess that comes out of us, “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.” The Pharisees or religious leaders were rotten to the core. Jesus had no problem calling them out.
Proverbs 10:11 says, “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.”
We tend to think of evil as something horrid like murder or thief. Yet, evil can be any action, thought, or attitude that is contrary to the character or will of God. In God’s eyes injustice is evil. The Word of God instructs believers not to let what we know is good be spoken of as evil (Rom. 14:16). If what we do or say causes others distress, that can be considered evil by the very people you are called to serve whether a Christian leader or government legislator.
The Lord knows the condition of our heart, yet we don’t. I hear people say many times, “Well, God knows my heart.” Yes, He does. It can be desperately wicked. The first place we need to look is within. David understood this when he asked the Lord to search him to see if there was any offensive way in him, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139:23-24).
On a different occasion, he asked the Lord to create in him a pure heart, and renew a steadfast spirit within him (Ps. 51:10). Over time our heart and spirit can become tainted. It is then when we need to go before the Lord as David asking for cleansing and renewal.
We hurt one another with our words. If we truly understand the heart of the Father and how it must grieve His heart to watch how sin and the fall of man has bought corruption earth and in the hearts of His most prized possession we could begin the process of healing nations. We are all made from one blood to live in harmony with one another (Acts 17:26).
I believe through many of these incidents the Lord is trying to get our attention. There is no doubt that God knows our hearts and understands the motives behind what we do and say. I encourage you to ask the Lord to search your heart and reveal anything that is not of Him so that you may glorify Him in the earth.
All Scripture is taken from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise noted.