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Guard Your Heart

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20160725 220143

 I've traveled to Guatemala several times, years ago, to do missions work and medical and food brigades. It's called the Land of Enchantment, but from 1960 to 1996, it was a nation in civil war. Torn apart and
hurting much like our nation is today. Vicious, segregated, and deadly with disagreement.

The capital holds the Royal Palace, and in that palace there's a room with an exhibit of a wall of notes written by Guatemalans after the peace accord was signed in December 1996. Above a painting of a white dove are written the following words: "De qué sirve todo esto si nadie hace nada de corazón". The translation is:


"What good does any of this do, if no one does any of it from their heart?"

Now there's a question.

Every day on Facebook, I see posts, and articles, and hatred and bigotry and "us vs. them" and pride and so much ugly. Political and racial and social and cultural...

This is hard to watch, but it is a predicted and natural consequence of sin in the world. I see people reaching across the divides, and there are so many divides, and reasoning with each other, speaking the truth in love. It's a beautiful thing. I love to watch it. I see peacemakers, actively making peace. What a treacherous and sacrificing work for the generations to come.

But I also see the bitter bile that sin has wrought, rising like a swelling river in some people's hearts, and sometimes on a bad day, in mine. I wonder what my son and daughter will find fifty years from now - what monuments to what causes, and with how much violence were they built? And I can only think of one answer to this issue.

It's a heart issue.

In Proverbs 4:23, it reads "Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life."

I'm not writing a prescription for the world's aches, but I know that the moment we stop noticing the condition of our hearts, the trouble starts there. Or it amplifies. Or both. The moment we stop seeing what is happening to our hearts, to our spirits, there the loss is already. The battle has been decided, and we are not the victors, and our children certainly are not, either.

Bitter bile is no birthplace for any healing work in this life.

The children around us are watching from the ropes on the sidelines, looking for a playbook for disagreement. A rulebook for how to handle conflict with people we don't agree with.

What will the tone of future generations be after being tutored by us?

Will it be compassion married with truth?

Will it be what we have in common, instead of what separates us?

What condition is our heart in when we engage in discourse, in rhetoric?

And are we shooting for the same goal God is - redemption?

Because His kingdom is not far off.

And that's the point of this all.

We must say and do what we've decided in our hearts what we believe is right. But as the next generation rises up behind us, we must also govern our hearts away from bitterness; we must guard carefully against it. And let's narrate for our children what a heart free from bitterness looks like and sounds like.

Can you imagine that?

The things we say and do with others will matter, then, because it comes from a heart without bitterness. A healthy heart, a whole heart.

And that is a birthplace of healing work, in us, in our world, and in the world of the coming generations.


-Angie Lashley