It isn’t known how many people walk around with undiagnosed heart problems, but the frequency of sudden deaths from heart attack suggests millions. It’s difficult to treat a problem—physical, emotional, or spiritual—that you don’t know exists. Perhaps you wonder how you can detect spiritual heart troubles. Proverbs 20:11-12 suggests a reasonable approach:
It is by his deeds that a lad distinguishes himself
If his conduct is pure and right.
The hearing ear and the seeing eye,
The LORD has made both of them.
As you notice, the Lord has given us hearing ears and seeing eyes. I urge you to use them! Open your eyes! Listen carefully! Watch the person with whom you speak! Stay sensitive! Doing so, of course, implies that you talk very little, especially during the initial contact.
Just as important to coming alongside others who are hurting is your seeking feedback from trusted advisers. Ask them to watch and listen and then offer helpful feedback. Tell them you sincerely want help identifying your own blind spots.
Now consider Proverbs 16:23-24:
The heart of the wise instructs his mouth
And adds persuasiveness to his lips.
Pleasant words are a honeycomb,
Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
God is pleased when we choose to allow Him to control what we say and use our words to encourage and edify the hurting people around us. Consider the promise God gave to Moses in Exodus 4:12: “Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to say.” Trust in that promise. Who knows? God may want to use you in the life of someone who can’t seem to get beyond the grind of a troubled heart.
From Living the Proverbs by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired., an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.
In Embraced by the Spirit, we step away from the heat of theological battle that analyzes and criticizes and move quietly and closely to the One who has been sent alongside to help.