Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. ~Proverbs 4:23
America is broken. America is hurting. America needs healing.
The answer is actually very straightforward: The heart is the central matter. Your words are crucial, your actions are critical, but it all begins in the heart. If your heart is off-center or unhealthy, your words and actions will follow suit.
It may seem trivial to some, and many will shake their heads and scoff at the spiritual approach, but as one person wrote to me recently, “we’ve tried everything else, nothing works.” Don’t mistake this as a political piece, nor as one targeted to a particular person, race, creed or color. It is a message to all of us, you and me included.
The heart is one of the significant parallels in life and the comparisons are endless. If your physical heart is clogged or otherwise diseased, the “issues of life” — in this case the blood flow that carries critical elements to the rest of the body — won’t be adequately transported and cause significant problems in the rest of your body. Same is true for the spiritual body: If you don’t guard your heart, then your perspective, your attitude, your words and your actions will be dramatically skewed and distorted. Ultimately, you will be out of line.
Yes, America is broken and she is in great need of restoration. Is this the generation that will help heal her? Or will we kick the can to the next generation like others in the recent past? Turning a blind eye to the times and refusing to address — or at least attempt to address — the turmoil and confusion will not only pass the buck to another generation but could likely pronounce a death penalty on America itself.
Sorry, real change will not come from the White House or the halls of Congress. Heaven only knows many have tried to legislate these changes for decades, even centuries. Legislation won’t change America, changing the heart will change America.
Don’t believe me? Try James:
But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. ~James 3:14-16.
America is broken. She needs a heart change.
To be sure, a drifting culture wandering aimlessly and an antiseptic response to religion, especially Christianity, are driving forces in support of a heart change. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, nailed it when he wrote “Mob violence and police brutality result from a morally bankrupt America” in the Washington Times. He said:
The abuse of power, disregard for human life, and the wanton destruction and uncontrolled rage we are witnessing in cities across our country, all flow from a society that is rapidly losing a sense of right and wrong, of transcendent truth.Tony Perkins, Washington Times, June 1.
He continues: “If there is an upside to any of this, it might be that in the quiet of our hearts we will see that our cultural bankruptcy must be replaced by the richness of the goodness, truth, and beauty of the God Who offers life and hope.”
Real change begins in the heart, where character and integrity are fashioned. All men and women — red, yellow, black and white — should undergo this check up on their heart condition. If you’re waiting for the “other one” to change, you’ll miss the boat and perhaps the biggest opportunity of your personal life.
The truth of the gospel is intended to free us to love God and others with our whole heart. When we ignore this heart aspect of our faith and try to live out our religion solely as correct doctrine or ethics, our passion is crippled, or perverted, and the divorce of our soul from the heart purposes of God toward us is deepened. ~John Eldredge.
Yes, there are fanatics, and there are extremists. Always have been, always will be. You can throw stones at the right, point fingers at the left, or cast aspersions toward those in the middle trying to bring peace, but you’re wasting time until hearts change. They won’t get it, it’s as simple as that.
Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick: “We need a culture change to address this racism. You cannot change the culture of a country until you change the character of mankind.”
Indeed, the rampant lies, deception and misinformation have led to the confusion, division and disoriented state of our society. Whether you believe it is a concerted effort or the work of a small calculated segment, the goal is to divide and conquer.
The problem in so many hearts is that empty void. The missing vacuum that seeks significance. If people can’t find that significance through their friends, family or God, they will find it someplace else. When they fill that emptiness with something else in that search for significance or relevance, it becomes deep, dark and destructive.
To be sure, the events playing out before us go deeper than the words used by anyone to describe the problems in America today. They are the result of an aggressive assault on the moral foundation and the church. Mend the heart, begin the healing, renew the country and bridge the chasm that divides us. The message is clear, as it was for Ronald Reagan 40 years ago:
“If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under.” ~Reagan, 1984 prayer breakfast.
To understand the state of our times, you must understand that many people prefer to argue and live in a state of turmoil and drama. It feeds their need for power, for fear and for greed. That need for drama will also steer them clear of move toward God, or admission that God is the answer to what ails us. They will kick, stream, rant and rave, but they will also refuse to address the question of the heart straight on.
Shout me down or hurl stones and aspersions, but like Reagan, singer-songwriter Carman got it right a few decades ago in his song:
The only hope for America is Jesus, The only hope for America is him. If we repent of our ways stand firm and say We need God in America again. ~Carman.
You can’t enact laws and mandate the heart. Martin Luther King Jr. said you “can’t legislate morality.” He said further that “morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated.” True statement. But we’ve spent enough time trying to legislate and little or no time or changing the hearts.
Over the past few months and years, I’ve written about the importance of your words, your attitude, that your relationships are critical, and that you can Smile Again, Laugh Again, Live Again. But guess what: All of that begins in the heart. Everything you do — everything — starts in the heart.
Friends, you can shout me down, but it’s not about the guns or abortion or riots or even police brutality, though they are all real problems in our society. It’s not about liberals or conservatives or all the other malarky that you can hear on any news station discussing the recent events of the day.
The central issue is the heart. Change hearts, and you change America. Change hearts, and you’ll change Congress, your neighborhood, your church and your home.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. ~Ezekiel 36:26.