‘Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. ‘ Matthew 12:34–35
Last night Chantelle and I watched the first Presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. I’m not going to get into the war that ensued between them but rather look deeper. When I refer to deeper, I’m talking about the emotions sparked into the lives of the viewers.
This isn’t about being a democrat or a republican but instead, the condition of your heart. The question I really want to drive home today is, “how are you guarding your heart?”
In this verse in Matthew, Jesus is laying into the religous people. He’s not so much looking at the actions of them but rather the “why” to their actions. He’s directly challenging their thought process and this is what I believe each and every one of us need to do daily.
I use the phrase, “out of the abundance of your heart your mouth speaks” all the time. However, after watching the debate and then scrolling through several instagram feeds, I realized this phrase could also read like this.
“Out of the abundance of your heart, your mouth speaks and your fingers type.”
Nowadays, it seems people everywhere feel the need to “share” their opinion of others. As I scrolled through Twitter and Instagram during the debate as well as the following morning, I read words and words of judgement. I read emotions splattered all over the place. I read feelings of the heart and it made me ask the question, “why do so many people feel the need to share hate and disgust toward someone?” And, as mentioned before, this isn’t about taking the side of Biden or Trump. I read equal hate toward both.
One of the things I’ve learned over the years as I’ve worked with global leaders and A list celebrities is this, “everyone is weird in their own way.” No one is perfect. Even the pastor who you think is perfect. The celebrity or leader you love to watch or read about, they are very flawed. And when I say very, I mean it. This is why I look upon my own life and say, “yah Anthony, you do some dumb stuff all the time.”
When I reflect on my own life, the only thing I can do to keep my sanity and love toward others, is to “guard my heart.” Don’t get me wrong, I’ve felt the emotion bubble inside of me regarding political, social or even religious issues. I’ve even typed out responses on social media about them. However, each time I do, I ask myself, “who would these words help?”
The majority of the time it’s really all about me blowing off steam. It’s me allowing my emotions to get the best of me. I’ve realized, it’s much harder to review my heart and words rather than to let them spill out into the social media abyss possibly causing harm to another.
This may seem like a dumb analogy but what about Jesus responding to the political climate during his day? Could he have gone after the Romans? I mean, let’s talk about a government filled with immorality?
At the end of the day, you are the only one who can guard your heart and your hands from typing. No one else has this control. The question to ask yourself is, “are you a puppet or the master of your life?”
What if the golden rule was something we lived by rather than just thought about?
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?”
When I read the golden rule, it’s a beautiful statement. It’s like this perfect place of nirvana where the birds are chirping, everyone is smiling and life is good. I like this idea and more importantly, this way of life.
But you know what, it’s much harder than “doing unto others the way you feel.”
This brings me to the question of, “why do you feel that way?” Are you controlling your thoughts or actions or is someone else? If someone else is triggering these emotions, why are you allowing it? Would you want people to treat you the way you treat others?
This piece I’m writing is really about reflection and discipline. At it’s core, the questions I’m posing are only an inventory of your heart.
I can’t speak to your heart, but you can. I can’t control your fingers, but you can. The question is, “do you even want to master this area of your life?” My guess is, most will say, “this is just who I am.” Or maybe your response is, “If I don’t say it, who will?” Or maybe it’s, “I have the right just like everyone else.”
When I ask these questions to myself, I immediately hear this phrase, “your words are life and death, blessing and cursing, so choose life.”
I’m a huge believer that our words are the architect for our future. We have the power to build skyscrapers of love, hope, kindness, generosity and whatever else we choose. I’m not just talking about two or three story buildings. I’m talking about the tallest buildings in the world.
But, in order to build these massive skyscrapers, you first have to dig deep. As we all know, the biggest buildings have the deepest foundations. Show me how high you want to build and I’ll ask how deep you want to go.
The tallest buildings have yet to be built. The tallest buildings which are to come are still digging their foundation. They have no height at the moment but one day they will.
The same goes for you and I. Ultimately, our heart is the vision board for our future. It can build beauty or chaos. The choice is up to you and I.
I’m living my day filled with expectation. I’m using the treasures of my heart to build the skyscrapers of the future. You won’t see any height on my buildings now, because I’m digging. But, one day, it will appear and it will be a sight to see.
I expect you are building too. I expect you are learning in these seasons just like me. I expect you are guarding your heart and your fingers to build a better world. I don’t just hope — I expect.