Did you know you can see with your ears? You can’t look out the window at beautiful trees or in your house for lost keys—you can’t see physical things with your ears. But you CAN see into hearts.
First let’s talk about eyes—our usual means of sight. There’s an old English proverb that says, “The eyes are the window of the soul.” I believed that when I was growing up, but I discovered that people’s eyes usually tell half-truths.
I once knew a man with the kindest eyes. I liked him because he was so real (didn’t put on airs, as we say in the South). His eyes crinkled proudly from many years of laughter. They were honest eyes. I haven’t seen this man in 25 years, but I can still recall his eyes.
I remember something else about him, too. He told me that people were no different than animals, that we were just bodies controlled by instinct, and we had no spirit. WHAT??? His expressive eyes surely hadn’t told me THAT! But his mouth eventually did. That was the first time I really looked deeply into my friend’s heart with my ears, and I was uncomfortable with what I found there. No one had to explain to me the effect his way of thinking would have on the quality of MY life if I chose to ignore the warning bells sounded by his revealing words.
Since then I have grown more in my understanding of God and what He is saying to us. I take seriously what comes out of people’s mouths because I know their words reveal more about them than what I can see with my natural eyes. People often try to say what they think you want to hear, but if you spend enough time with them, you can know the truth about what’s in their heart (Matthew 15:18-19). And according to Proverbs 23:7, what we think in our heart is what we ARE.
If you don’t like the words you hear coming out of your mouth or the thoughts you hold in your mind, you don’t have to be imprisoned by them. Roots, no matter how old, can be destroyed to make room for a new and better life.
Several years ago, my husband and I cut down boxwood that the builder had planted in 1973—15 years before we moved in. Those boxwood weren’t my favorite when we bought the house. They had no problems except ugliness, and pretty is as pretty does (another Southern saying) so as long as they were healthy and could be trimmed, we had no desire to start digging them up.
Those ugly shrubs grew even uglier when they became infected by one of those boxwood-specific diseases. And then the pests attacked because, apparently, they just LOVE diseased boxwood. Finally the poor things needed to be put out of their misery (and ours) so we cut them down. Just as we had thought, they had roots to China.
We assembled our weapons (shovels, spades, axes, wheelbarrows, gloves and protective shoes) and went to war against those roots. Every day for several months I dug, chopped and hauled the spoils of my victory to the woods. When Bill was home, he joined me—attacking the biggest of the big that I always left for him to deal with (you’re welcome, honey). Some of those roots were as big around as the trunks of our smaller TREES!
Bill joked that I couldn’t bear to leave a root untouched. And he was right. I was on a mission, and I was not going to stop until I removed every root I could get my hands on. To go to all that trouble and quit before total annihilation (knowing roots left behind would rear their ugly heads for us to deal with again and again)? That was NOT going to happen. Besides, I had to make the ground soft and fertile for the new shrubs, the beautiful Rose Creek Abelia I had picked out. (Ahhhhh . . . even their name was more appealing than “boxwood.”)
The Word says we are to let God transform us into new people by changing the way we think (Romans 12:2). God wants to help us make fertile soil out of the destructive roots in our soul. He wants to give each of us a new life when we are ready to receive it.
Once you believe what God says, you can receive all that He has for you (Jeremiah 29:11-13). That’s when you discover that the troublesome roots in your soul—those roots you’ve been feeding with our own thoughts and words—are not nearly as stubborn as a 45 year old boxwood’s.
Luke 6:44-48 (NKJV)
44 For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.