What is the condition of your heart? Today’s readings brought me to a humble place of introspection regarding the health of my own heart. Joseph’s brothers were filled with jealousy that lead to them to take dire action against Joseph and their father.
4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.
5 Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more.Genesis 37: 4-5 NIV
It is easy to write off the brother’s actions as drastic and beyond anything we could imagine doing. But how often do I long for something belonging to someone else? How often do I envy someone else’s recognition? How often do I neglect my own position and purpose as I envy another?
While Joseph’s brother’s were physically malicious, the Pharisees manifested their “diseased” hearts by using their postion to act superior to others. Jesus had no compassion for this behavior.
6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
“‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
7 They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules.’[b]
8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” Mark 7: 6-8 NIV
It is easy for me to look down on the Pharisees for their intolerance. But how often do I judge people on their actions without considering where they are coming from? How often do I focus on “looking spiritual” rather than pursuing the heart change that matters most to God?
Job was suffering when we encounter him in Job 3; his heart was aching. What struck me most here is that God allows our hearts to ache. We can cry out to God as we hurt. The Psalms are full of David crying out. The real question is what are we going to do with our heartache. Are we going to act out on our jealousy like Joseph’s brothers? Are we going to pass judgement while failing to see our own hardened heart? Or as Paul does in Romans, can we, aware of our own sinfulness, come to the throne of God, grateful for the gift of deliverance through Christ?
25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7: 25 NIV
Create in me a clean heart, Lord.