One of the phrases that is like fingers on a chalkboard to me is, “God knows my heart.”
Whenever I hear someone say that, it normally happens on the backside of something that was compromising. “Well, I didn’t give my fair share to the United Way, but God knows my heart.” “Gosh, I didn’t have a good night last night, but God knows my heart.” “I’ve used some poor word choices but God knows my heart.”
He does know your heart. You know how He knows your heart? Based on the fruit of your life. If I pulled the bark off of a tree and showed it to you, you would have no clue what kind of tree it was from. But if I showed you the fruit of a tree, you’d say, “Oh, well that’s from an orange tree. That’s from an apple tree.” That’s how clear fruit is.
In Matthew Chapter 12: 33-37. Jesus says this:
Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers. How can you speak good when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. The good person, out of his good treasure, brings forth good and the evil person, out of his evil treasure, brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment, people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned.
It’s not about what you’re wearing on the outside. It’s not about how leafy you are or the plumes in your hat or what’s in your bank account. Those things don’t dictate who you are. But the fruit of your life does. It tells people the condition of your heart.
One of the great tests in the Bible on this is when Abraham is told to sacrifice his son Isaac up on a mountain. He takes Isaac up to the top of the mountain as Isaac is saying, “Hey, Daddy, where’s the lamb going to come from?” Because Isaac has made this trek before. He knows that you go to the top of the mountain to sacrifice animals, so he’s looking for the lamb. And Abraham says, “God will provide the lamb.” He’s not really telling Isaac the whole truth, they’re going up there because God told him to sacrifice his son.
So they get up to the top, and Abraham raises his knife, and God says, “Ahh, stop. Don’t do that.” And then God in essence says, “Now I know that you love me more than the mission of being the patriarch of Israel. Now I know.” (Genesis 22:12) In other words, God knew his heart based on whether or not he was going to obey Him. That’s how God knows our hearts.
Don’t ever say to yourself, “I’m going to be disobedient to God in this area, but God knows my heart.” Yes, He does know your heart. He knows your disobedience and your words are one of his reference points.
Matthew 12 Verse 35.
The good person, out of his good treasure, brings forth good. The evil person, out of his evil treasure, brings forth evil.
There is a news story trending in Cincinnati right now. It’s like dysfunction junction at City Hall. If you’re in Cincinnati, I think all of would agree about this, whether on the right, left, or in the middle.
There is a law in Cincinnati where you can’t make any decision as a policymaker until it’s been discussed in public. You can’t even talk about anything unless it’s in public with all the other council members. So some of the Cincinnati council members were not meeting and talking, they were texting and talking. There was a lawsuit, and under subpoena all of these politicians had to give up their text records, so everybody has been able to see what they’ve been saying to each other.
I certainly don’t like some of the things that they have been texting back and forth. But what has been the biggest emotion for me is, “What happens if everyone sees all my texts from the last five years? What’s that going to look like?” I think to myself, “What happens if someone gets to hear a recording of everything I’ve said around a campfire for the last five years? What would that sound like?”
I have great empathy, because words are a powerful thing, and Jesus says here in Matthew Chapter 12, “By your words you will be justified, and by your words you’ll be condemned.”
Our words are one of the ways that God knows our heart.
Let’s be really honest. None of us have good words 100% of the time. When we say something, that is an indicator in that moment about where our heart is. If you say something that is racist, then in that moment you have a racist heart. Now, five years later, if someone goes back and gets your words from five years ago, does that mean you’re a racist now? Maybe, but not always. I can’t stand that about our culture. “No matter what you’ve done in the past, that’s who you are.” No, it’s not. That’s maybe who you were, that’s maybe what your fruit tasted like way back then, but that’s not always who you are right now.
I’m thankful that God doesn’t judge us on who we are now based on what we said then. He does say, “I tell you, on the day of judgment, people will give account for every careless word they speak.” So there will be an account we’ll have to give to God. Fortunately, as a follower of Jesus, I may give an account for those things, but I won’t be judged by those things. I won’t be punished for those things. Because Jesus has been the judgment for me. Jesus has been punished for me on a cross. I never have to fear coming before God. And that is great news for you and I.
Our words are important to God.
We all can remember the times that other’s words have blessed us. A great friend of mine, Kathy Beechem, died recently. There have been a lot of tears. One thing I can say is that I remember the things that Kathy said to me. I knew her tree by her fruit. Her words of encouragement to me, her words of clarity, the things that she said to me, those things changed my life, even in the midst of her death. I know that she is having an amazing account with God.
I want to encourage us all. Let’s talk to people in a way where we’ll be glad we did if we were to meet God at the end of the day. Our words have power. Use your words to show the condition of your heart.