Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Where Life Makes Up Its Mind

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverbs 4:23

That is a great verse to consider when faced with current cultural issues these days. I have found that "guarding my heart," in particular, as well as guarding the hearts of our children, in general, can be considered as bias, intolerance, discriminatory, bigoted, holier-than-thou etc. from people who do not agree with the Biblical worldview. I have seen this on other blogs, as well. No matter what the topic, if a person doesn't totally embrace another person's _______ and ungodly lifestyle (fill in the blank!), then the moral relativists of this world will hate you.

Hollywood is like that. Immorality generally reigns like a crowning achievement in that crowd. It's an attitude of anything goes; except for anything (or anyone) that reveals conservative views and/or Christian truth. Then, the person who holds us views is often subjected to being an object of ridicule. This was quite evident from the "jokes" leveled at certain people during the Emmy awards broadcast.

In addition, it seems that actors/actresses who get caught during a DUI who happen to not be Christians (like Nick Nolte) are not nearly as persecuted for their actions as, say, someone like Mel Gibson who is a Christian. That whole incident concerning Mel was just an opportunity for those who hate him (and were obviously resentful and jealous of the success of his film The Passion of the Christ) to get back at him. Despite the fact that he apologized for his drunken rant against Jews, the criticism goes on through the likes of Rob Reiner; who obviously thinks of himself as a "better person" than Mel. Yeah...a guy who used to play the role of a character named "meathead" (sorry, had to throw that in there)! Instead of showing empathy for, forgiveness and concern for a fellow actor in the industry who had fallen back into a former alcohol addiction, debasement and ridicule ruled the day (and weeks afterwards, too). Why did they focus on his "fall from grace" in his unfortunate verbal rant rather than express empathy towards him because he succombed to a former addiction that he had been battling for several years of his life?

I'm not trying to give Mel an automatic pass here. What he said was wrong and terribly offensive to Jewish people. I'm not attempting to push that aside. However, sometimes we don't know the root causes and kinds of "demons" that people have battled against in their lives. We know that Mel's father was an anti-Semite. Growing up with his father's ranting probably infected Mel's mind to some extent. But when Mel came to his senses, again, he stated that such an attitude towards the Jewish people is against his Christian faith. But when he apologized (several times in fact) it appeared to never be enough for his detractors. We must ask why.

I seems to me that people had more sympathy and empathy towards that woman who drowned her three kids in a bathtub! A much more serious type of crime. Why is this so? Why is sympathy and empathy given to one person and not the other?

I didn't mean to get too far off topic. But I think that the following post, Where Life Makes Up Its Mind could offer us some insight and possible answers to these questions.

In Ray Pritchard's book called The ABC's of Wisdom, he presents short daily devotionals that are meant to help build character through the writings of Solomon. The following one deals with guarding the heart.


The term "heart" in the Bible generally refers to the innermost part of life. It is the decision-making center, the source of motives, the seat of the passions, and the center of the conscience. It is truly the place "where life makes up its mind."

Proverbs has a great deal to say about the heart. It is the source of wisdom (2:10) and understanding (8:5, KJV), the origin of both deceit (6:14) and joy (15:30). The heart may backslide (14:14, KJV) or trust in God (3:5). It may be cheerful (15:13), prideful (16:5), bitter (14:10), haughty (18:12), or prudent (18:15, KJV). The heart may lust after an adulterous woman (6:25), rage against the Lord (19:3), and eventually be hardened against God altogether (28:14). The Lord tests the heart (17:3) because He knows what is in it (24:12), which is why the heart must be guarded all the time (4:23).

Jesus almost certainly had this verse in mind when He spoke to the Pharisees in Matthew 12:34b: "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." This verse cuts both ways. Whatever is on the inside will eventually come out - whether good or bad (v. 35). If a person's heart is dirty, he cannot produce purity in his life. Likewise, if the heart is stayed on the Lord, it will be seen on the outside eventually. The King James Version of Proverbs 23:7 reads, "As [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he."

* If you think angry thoughts, angry words are sure to follow.

* If you fill your mind with sexual fantasies, your body will find a way to fulfill those desires.

* If you dwell on your problems, they will soon overwhelm you.

* If you feel like a victim, soon you will become one.

* If you give way to worry, don't be surprised when you get ulcers.

* If you focus on how others misunderstand you, you will soon become angry and bitter.

What goes in must come out. Sooner or later your thought translate into reality. You're not what you think you are, but what you think, you are.

The flip side is true.

* If you focus on the truth, you will speak the truth.

* If you look on noble things, nobility will mark your life.

* If you seek out lovely things, your life will be lovely to others.

* If you dwell on the right, the wrong will seem less attractive to you.

* If you look for virtue, you will find it.

* If you search for higher things, you will elevate your own life.

Recently a friend sent me this prayer from the Book of Common Prayer. It seems a fitting way to apply the words of Proverbs 4:23.

Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your Holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

4 comments:

Boo said...

"In addition, it seems that actors/actresses who get caught during a DUI who happen to not be Christians (like Nick Nolte) are not nearly as persecuted for their actions as, say, someone like Mel Gibson who is a Christian. That whole incident concerning Mel was just an opportunity for those who hate him (and were obviously resentful and jealous of the success of his film The Passion of the Christ) to get back at him. Despite the fact that he apologized for his drunken rant against Jews, the criticism goes on through the likes of Rob Reiner; who obviously thinks of himself as a "better person" than Mel. Yeah...a guy who used to play the role of a character named "meathead" (sorry, had to throw that in there)! Instead of showing empathy for, forgiveness and concern for a fellow actor in the industry who had fallen back into a former alcohol addiction, debasement and ridicule ruled the day (and weeks afterwards, too). Why did they focus on his "fall from grace" in his unfortunate verbal rant rather than express empathy towards him because he succombed to a former addiction that he had been battling for several years of his life?"

It would be nice to see people a little more open to forgiveness, but let's be clear about something: alcoholism is a disease, antisemitism isn't. Alcohol can make a person do things they wouldn't otherwise do but it can't make a person think things they wouldn't otherwise think. Nick Nolte, as far as I am aware, didn't go off on a bigoted rant against anyone when arrested. (And you may motice he's not getting much work these days) Plus you've got to remember that Rob Reiner is Jewish. There's dfinitely a double standard in Hollywood's treatment of Christians, but that doesn't make what Mel did excusable.

"I have found that "guarding my heart," in particular, as well as guarding the hearts of our children, in general, can be considered as bias, intolerance, discriminatory, bigoted, holier-than-thou etc. from people who do not agree with the Biblical worldview. I have seen this on other blogs, as well. No matter what the topic, if a person doesn't totally embrace another person's _______ and ungodly lifestyle (fill in the blank!), then the moral relativists of this world will hate you."

As demonstrated in threads on evolution and gay rights, sometimes guarding your heart seems an awful lot like refusing to face inconvenient facts, such as your continued conflation of evolution and eugenics even after the differences were clearly explained to you, or your overlooking the violence done to the gay community by the Slavic community in that other thread and then abandoning the debate when it was pointed out to you.

The Real Deal said...

"alcoholism is a disease"

Such a thing has never been proven. Is this something you learned from textbooks, Alcoholics Anonomous, personal experience, or all the above?

limpy99 said...

I'm still going to watch "Braveheart", even if Mel is loopy as a loon.

Boo said...

""alcoholism is a disease"

Such a thing has never been proven. Is this something you learned from textbooks, Alcoholics Anonomous, personal experience, or all the above?"

This is a thing I learned by reading it in the DSM and having no reason to suspect the diagnosis.