10/16/13 Benjamin 25
“God knows my heart” … I hear it often from people on the streets. What does that mean, exactly? I heard it yesterday from a young man named Benjamin whom I reached out to at a Dunkin’ Donuts. He had grown up in a churchgoing family, so I think he knew better than to just blatantly say he could go to heaven by doing good deeds, But he said it more subtly, “God knows my heart. He knows my good intentions, that I try to learn from my mistakes and improve myself”. He also mentioned that he does a lot of good things, goes to church, and reads the Bible. I’m realizing that many churchgoers, who have been told repeatedly that they cannot be saved by good works, turn to the next best thing they can think of – their “good heart” They know full well they sin, but they believe God looks past their sins to their good intentions. Why then, did Benjamin believe some people will end up in hell? By his logic it follows that he believes people are sent to hell because they don’t have a good enough heart, or in other words, not as good as his. He may not have realized it or cared to admit it, but he was implicitly saying that he was better, that he somehow deserves salvation more than others, but he was also quick to avoid being judgmental of others specifically. This would be in opposition to the idea that he has a good and innocent heart. I explained to Ben that the Bible teaches that none of us are worthy, none of us really has a “good heart” (Luke 18:19), and that it is only by faith in Jesus that we can be saved from the punishment we deserve. Ben seemed to understand this but before I left he made sure to show me what he had been watching on his computer before I walked in – a Joyce Meyers ministry program – more evidence, he thought, of his “good heart”. Let’s pray for Ben, and that we too do not fall into that same “God knows my heart” trap!