“Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart”
1 Samuel 16:7
In the Bible in Proverbs 4:23 it says “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Sometimes we are so worried about what people can see on the outside, we can forget how we are functioning on the inside. When our hearts are left unprotected and bare, a lot of things can happen. Where we once had joy, brokenness can take root; where we once experienced love and affirmation, bitterness and disappointment can creep in. I’m not saying I’m perfect, because I’m speaking out of experience. For a period of my life, I didn’t guard my heart. I allowed myself to go into situations which I knew weren’t right, and held onto any and all offences that came my way. Guarding your heart doesn’t mean being cold or closed-off to people, but it has a lot to do with our reactions to our circumstances. Instead of me walking into my office at work with a joyous spirit, I allowed myself to walk into that place holding onto the bitterness I had from the day before – rather than just letting it go. And do you know what the funny thing is? That bitterness hurt me a heck of a lot more than it did anyone else. I’ve heard so many times that carrying bitterness (or unforgiveness) is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die from it. It just ain’t going to happen. You are the only one that is going to be affected by the poison – not anyone else.
I’d like to say that period of my life was short-lived and I moved on better than when I first arrived – but in all honestly, it is still a journey I’m on. I have 100% forgiven and let go of those things in my past and those people who have hurt me, but doesn’t mean that the scars still don’t hurt – or that I’m not regularly reminded of them. But there had to come a point where I said “I don’t want pain anymore” and to let it go.
I love that when God says he looks at our hearts rather than our appearance, because who else can we say does that? God cares about the condition of our hearts and how we are running on the inside, because he knows that a healthy heart will produce healthy fruit – just as a healthy apple tree will produce good apples. Imagine if the apple tree was poisoned by one of its roots – it may not happen overnight, but soon enough, the whole tree will be destroyed. It is the same with the bitterness and unforgiveness we hold onto – it may not seem like much now, but soon it will overcome us and be all that we are. We focus so much time and energy on our appearances, imagine if we did the same with our hearts? How much better would we be as people carrying a heart full of love and joy rather than everything else?