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Heart Inspections
by Nancy Harry

 For the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. (1 Chronicles 28:9)

When we read scripture, we read words. We don’t hear the tone in which it was said or see the look on the face. Was it said in anger, disgust, compassion or sorrow? Sometimes we can tell by the way a passage is written, but there are times we can’t. We may lose some understanding because the culture at that time was different from ours today, but in some ways it was also the same.

I often wondered about the Greek woman, who Jesus basically referred to - as a little dog who was trying to take the children’s bread - in an analogy he used, as he told her he wouldn’t help her. She had come to him for healing for her daughter. I felt this was a strong reply for a woman who came only to ask for his help. Wasn’t that degrading to her and a mean thing for him to say, I questioned?

When Jesus used this analogy, it was not to put her down, not to intimidate her, but to help her understand why he was not quick to respond to her need. He was stressing to her that he was sent to a certain group of people, basically the Jews of Israel, which he referred to as children in his analogy. His purpose was to minister to these people and she did not belong to that particular group.

The more I studied this passage; I felt Jesus told her this with compassion in his voice. Feeling his love for her, she felt confident to continue the conversation. Having understood what he was telling her through this analogy, she responded by saying that even a dog eats the crumbs from his master’s table. This indicates to me she was a very wise woman and a quick thinker to come back with such a good defense in a similar analogy of her own. Jesus respected her for her persistence and for wisely defending her cause. Most of all, he recognized her faith in him to be able to perform this miracle.

His heart goes out to the one who believes in him. And this woman had a heart that trusted him to be able to accomplish her plea. As a result, Jesus granted her request. (Reference: Matthew 15:22-28, Mark 7:25-30.)

During another event, the mother of Jesus and his brothers made a trip to his house to talk with him. As they were waiting for him to come greet them, Jesus told his guests that he considered them his mother, brother and sister. Was he disrespecting his own mother and siblings as they waited for him, when he called this group with him his family, instead of hurrying to greet his own family?

Jesus never missed an opportunity to teach a lesson. He was not physically his guests’ kindred, but they were one in spirit. Their fellowship was important to him. Their love for God and God’s Word were evident by their obedience to it. Because of this, Jesus used the example of his love and endearment for his own family, to let these people know that he felt the same love and endearment for them - just as if they were his real family. His guests having put their trust in him were now part of his spiritual family. (Reference: Mark 3:31-34.)

In no way was he implying a lack of love for his mother and brothers. In fact, he had so much love for his mother that even as he hung on the cross in great pain and anguish; he called to his disciple John, to care for her. A mother’s heart of love for her son is never forgotten. (Reference: John 19:25-27.)

There was the time when Jesus watched a widow give two cents as an offering. She lives on in this example - over two thousand years later. Jesus knows the hearts of men; he sees the motives behind what they do. Often he criticized the religious men of his day for hypocrisy. In other words, they pretended to be religious or righteous, but in their own daily living they acted the opposite. They had evil in their hearts, as Jesus put it. They were proud and arrogant. When it came to giving, they gave because it was the religious thing to do and because they had plenty to give. And they were probably proud of what they gave, too.

Unpretentiously, along comes this woman, who just loved God and willingly gave the little she had to please him. Mentioning the two small coins she gave – the smallest coins then in circulation - was Jesus’ way of teaching us that our motive for giving and our willingness to give is much more important than the amount that is given. He is much more interested in hearts than he is in numbers. (Reference: Mark 12:41-44.)

Attitudes cross genders and generations. God inspects our hearts. He sees what is going on in there. Have you checked your heart lately?

I heard the LORD say, "Get ready!  We are about to play in a different league, far superior!" - PJ

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