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The Heart of The Matter


As Christians, we serve a mighty God that can do things and create things that our minds can only imagine which is a perfect plug for the great song “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me. God is a merciful God and forgives those who are deemed as unforgivable and are guilty of acts against humanity that are reprehensible. 

As we look through history, it’s easy to see the destruction that man is capable of regardless of the technology available. The minds of man are very creative when you study the forms of torture that we come up with and the more resources that we have at our disposal, the more dangerous that man is. This can be very good or very bad depending on which side of the fence you stand but the common theme is it’s a heart issue.

For the sake of time and space, let’s focus on some events of the last one hundred years including Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Benito Mussolini, the Empire of Japan, and different times in American history when the evils and depth of man’s destructive side were on full display. When I said it depends on which side of the you stand on, this is not to be taken that a certain nationality or country is more or less evil and, therefore, their actions are better but rather, there are times in history when evil is on full display for matters of evil while other times, we see destruction to bring an end to and prevent further destruction.

For example, most everything Hitler touched was evil and had no other purpose but destruction. His vision was total control and this was evident when he invaded Poland and broke the agreement—the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics— that ended the pact with the Soviet Union that saw the USSR join the Allied Forces. However, when you look at the dropping of the atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Okinawa, while destruction was on full display, it was a move to stop and prevent further destruction from occurring.

In other words, it’s a matter of the heart but on the other side of the equation; we see a matter of heart when we speak of men like Hitler. Without question, he epitomized evil and looked out for his best interests and did anything and everything to capitalize on his desires. He was a great leader, this is hard to dispute, but he was a terrible man. Scripture tells us that we know a man but his fruits but we know that a good tree cannot bear bad fruit just like a bad tree cannot bear good fruit: “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit” (Matthew 7:18). 

When I was younger, I thought that a man like Hitler had no chance getting to Heaven and while his actions say he does not deserve such an opportunity, again, we serve a big and mighty God that does not work the way man does. What we see as unforgivable, God does not. With that said, just because God forgives does not mean that what occurred was not bad as it’s hard to justify anything Hitler was responsible for but scripture points out that each of us, regardless of how big or small our acts/sins are, fall short of God’s glory: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). 

This is not to say that good people are just as bad as heinous people but instead, to point out that we are just as guilty. Two thousand years ago, in an effort to pay for the debts and sins of man, Christ came to Earth as royalty but lived like a peasant and gave His life blood for each and every individual past, present and future: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Christ instructs us to forgive all people and all things not because these things are acceptable but rather, because holding on to these things are destructive and like Christ, we must learn to give all things to Christ and like Him, forgive even the ungodly: “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots” (Luke 23:34).

Truly, it’s about The Heart of The Matter: “I the LORD search the heart, [I] try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, [and] according to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 17:10) and a heart without Christ is impure: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26).

What do you think?

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Written by Billy Ray Parrish


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