Sitting here in Barnes & Noble Bookstore over a small cup of espresso macchiato, I have a chance to read my chapter in John for today. A fascinating passage has me continuing to reflect:
At the end of Chapter 2, vs 29 says:
"When He was in Jerusalem during the Passover festival, many believed in His Name, because, they saw the signs that He was doing. But Jesus on His part, would not trust Himself to them because He knew all people and needed no-one to testify about anyone; for He Himself knew what was in everyone."
"Jesus knew what was in everyone." He knew the human heart. He could see a person's inner heart and soul.
When the "Holy Spirit overtakes our lives, we too are able - as Jesus did - to see the inner hearts of others. To see the essence of their character. Abigail Adams, wife of the second President of the United States, once said of someone, "Oh, I knew already what was in his heart. I could see it in his eyes."
It seems to me that is a gift of the Spirit we should all awaken in our hearts - the ability to see other people's hearts. To instinctively know the heart of people. It is what we sometimes call "discernment." It is from that seeing that there comes wisdom in our lives. The ability to sense something deep inside of others.
In America, we're living in a time of judgment, of criticism, of anger, that rises often to shouting, and demanding, and assuming dark things about people who differ and disagree with us. Because we differ we assume selfish motives in others. We ignore what may be the pain in their lives, the sorrows with which they live, the injustices that have been done them. We often know very little about them.
There are calls from many corners for civility in our common life. For patience and understanding in our public conversation.
Listening helps us slow down, pay attention, not assume. It encourages us to take a longer look. To go deep with others. To perceive the truth that's there. To glimpse the true heart.
I am reading a very thick, many-paged book called, "Hamilton." It is the story of a very young man who grew up, an illegitimate child, in the West Indies. He was brilliant, head-strong, a deep thinker who became one of America's most intellectual and important "founding fathers."
Out of his mind came much of the conception of our Constitution, of the actual form of our government. He saw the role a monetary system plays in the life of a nation. He saw the importance of having a national bank. He played out in his head the whole structure of government institutions. He became the close and trusted advisor of our first president, George Washington.
He did all this in the midst of amazing and debilitating envies and jealousies among founding fathers themselves. Many of them had huge egos, were driven by desires for glory. It was a tumultuous time.
George Washington, both as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, and as our first president, was one who cultivated patience and observation. Very often it was he who saw the heart, and so, was able to make the young Hamilton's genius work for America's good.
In these strikingly similar days, as people of faith, who love our country, and love God more, it is very important that we take time to see the heart of those who lead us. Who see the goodness that is so often missed, in public people. Our president today, needs it. His family needs it. All those who offer themselves to lead us, need it.
God help us take time to see the heart of all those around us.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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