HOW DEPRIVED IS YOUR HEART?

Deprivation!

I am very scared of this word, ‘Deprivation’. Susceptibility follows deprivation, temptation follows vulnerability and devastation follows the temptation.  So you can understand how dangerous deprivation is…

We have seen children, deprived of food, that are tempted to steal it when the opportunity arises. People who are deprived of sex are susceptible to just anything to gratify their desires. People, who are deprived of love, cling to it when they receive it suddenly. Moreover, when our heart is deprived of something… then it is very difficult to calm it down.   

My wife is deprived of mother’s love as her mom left her when she was just a kid. So when somebody gives that motherly love to her, she feels great. And when she sees others having that love from their childhood her eyes fill with tears in agony.

Heart!

The favourite organ of our body… which pumps out blood through the veins of our body… which also pumps out the emotions in different times.  It feels, it beats, it flutters, it stirs, it sinks, it succumbs, and it reacts responding to different circumstances and causes from outside.

Have you seen people waiting for their lost love? They knew they have lost their beloved yet they wait for them in vain.

Have you ever seen people getting close to their friends more than their spouses, when the spouse is supposed to be their closest friend? 

Have you seen girls and boys falling in love with married man or woman even though they know that it is just impossible? I remember once I read in the newspaper which says, “A girl committed suicide when she came to know that famous Pakistan Cricketer Wasim Akram is married.” Wasim Akram was a very handsome man and was the heartthrob of many girls all over the world… But committing suicide for him being married made me mystified. I could not even believe that. It was really difficult for me to understand the mind and heart of that girl.  

The Scripture says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and utterly wicked. Who can understand it?”

So true!

Sometimes I wonder about my own heart… Forget about others, even I sometimes get bewildered about how my heart reacts to certain situations that I face. My vulnerability and susceptibility caused by various deprivations sometimes make me struggle hard in my day to day life. It worries me and alarms me to the highest extent.

In Bollywood movies we come across so many connotations to the word HEART… like –

‘Dil tho bacha hai’ – Heart is Childish

‘Dil tho pagal hai’ – Heart is Crazy

‘Dil mushkil hai’ – Heart is Complicated and so on…

Ancient Hebrew used the term “heart” to mean the inward motivations which control a person’s words and deeds. And we all are aware of the fact that it is really very difficult to handle the matters of our this “Inward Motivations“. 

Few days ago there was an article published on Candles where the writer said something about HEART:

It can not only be full of self-deceit, but can also be brimming with ideas to ensnare others. While we need to accept this undisputed truth, we also need to acknowledge that we can choose not to allow ourselves to wallow in this fallen state forever.

That is absolutely right!

We need to choose better things for our heart because the Scripture says: 

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life”

We can’t afford to let our heart move towards destruction as our life depends on it’s smooth functioning (both physically and emotionally). When we are hungry, sick, weak we are asked to eat well, check our diets, eat healthy and more… In the same way we deliberately need to feed our heart with good food. We can’t let it stay deprived and weakened. If it is weak, deprivation will creep in… and we already know, “susceptibility follows deprivation….” and blah blah blah…  

I remember few months ago in the year 2016, I once asked Aastha to keep a check on me in one of the matters concerning my life as I kept sharing stuffs. As a good friend she did keep a check on me for sometime which smoothed my life to a great extent. 

What is your take on deprivation today? How well are you managing your heart’s matters? If you have a friend or close relative take him or her to your confidence and pour out your heart’s matter, ask him/her to have a eye on you in regards to your actions. But we all need to realize that there’s nobody who really can guard or check our hearts other than we ourselves. We need, ourselves and God to sit together and have a board meeting concerning our heart and the deprivation we are going through. 

Keep thinking as you read and never forget to give your valuable feedback… 😉

Stay Blessed!!!

PURITY OF A CHILD’S HANDS

Hands are pure when the heart is pure; heart is pure when thoughts are pure.

There is a famous story of thief and his mother –

A thief once gets caught while stealing and is put behind the bars. His mother comes to meet him and he asks his mother “Why did you do this to me?” Mother shocked asks, “What did I do?” The thief says, “When I was a little boy in school and I used to get those fancy pencils and tiffin boxes from school, why did you never ask me where those came from? Why did you never question the stuff that I had? I continued to steal from school, then from people travelling in public transport and I never made any attempts to hide what I stole from people, yet you never questioned me or scolded me. Why?

Mother had no answer. Whatever her reason was for not stopping her child from stealing, it led to the destruction of the child’s life.  He grew up believing that it is ok to steal. He believed that his mother approved of what he did and he got all the more motivated to steal.

That is how children are. Whether a child has pure hands or impure hands depends on the parents to a large extent. And so as adults, it becomes even larger responsibility to express the purity of our thoughts and hands; to show our children that we have steady feet and that is the only way to live.

I often hear stories where father asks the child to lie for him to neighbors or mothers or somebody else. How horrible is that? Just for a very short term benefit of lying, they end up teaching the children a very wrong value which is to lie. And lying is an impure thought which leads to an impure action.

So, watch your thoughts and watch your actions. Your children will be your reflection when they grow up.

A HEART THAT DEVISES WICKED SCHEMES

They were eight youths in all. Five of them were known to the family. So, they could gain easy access into the house. First three of them rang the doorbell of their friend’s house. His unsuspecting wife welcomed them in. They sat chatting over cups of tea as they waited for her husband to reach home from work. On arrival, he was a bit surprised though not alarmed, to see them. As he joined his friends, his wife went in to prepare snacks for the group. Then the doorbell rang again. This time two more friends joined them. Within minutes the five overpowered the man and strangulated him. Next, they stabbed his wife to death in the kitchen. They were not done with it. They then smothered the couple’s two children in the other room. Within hours, a family was wiped away. And, mind you it was not an act done in the heat of the moment. It was a well-schemed act. While the five were executing their plan of action, three others kept a watch outside the building.

This is a true incident that is just a few months old. There are many such devastations that happen each minute on the face of the earth. Most of them are pre-planned and well devised acts aimed to cause harm to others.

God Almighty gifted human beings with a pure heart and created them in His own image. Above all, He has put eternity in our hearts. Instead of having the quest for eternal happiness and riches, we often choose to fill our hearts with hatred, anger, jealousy, pride and malice. Consequently, our hearts begin to nurture these seeds and reap the fruits of destruction. A deceitful heart is first deceitful to self and then to others around.

A heart that is true to self will hold others in esteem and not plot evil against others. It’s a wise heart that meditates on the precepts of truth, peace and love and sows the seeds of harmony and goodness all around.

THE HEART OF THE MATTER

An ancient proverb says, “Guard the heart with all diligence for out of it proceed the issues of life”, meaning, the things you say and do reflect deeper, important life issues. A wise teacher from the Middle East once reiterated this in a different way, “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.  A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.  But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.  For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” This same teacher said later concerning food and activities that people considered ‘unclean’, “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then is eliminated? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean’. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’ but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean'”. This means that whatever we say reflects the uncleanness of our hearts and these ‘harmless’ words are ultimately what make us (or reveal us as) ‘clean’ or ‘unclean.’ Teachings like these sober me up very quickly. What this means, ultimately, is that I only have myself to blame for the condition of my heart and that I must own my actions and words and blame them on no one else but myself. This is what was meant by “give an account”. Stephen R. Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People wrote similarly, “If you start to think that the problem is ‘out there,’ stop yourself. That thought is the problem” [emphasis mine]. He also states that until we realize that our lives’ are a product of our own decisions (and no one else’s), we will be unable to choose otherwise for ourselves. If we are reaping negative consequences in our life, it is best to consult the soil of our behavior (our heart) and not blame the sun, thorns, or water around us (our conditions).

What is even more shocking to me is a quote that talks about how our heart is constantly deceiving us. In a pivotal time that preceded seventy years of slavery in the foreign land, Babylon, a leader and teacher of the people of Israel, very wisely warned his people concerning their hearts and the trouble they were being led into,”The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” ‘To deceive’ means ‘to deliberately cause (someone) to believe something that is not true, especially for personal gain.’ This means that not only is your heart convincing you of something that isn’t true, it is doing it for personal gain (fame, self-honor, impure pleasures, etc.) This frightens me because the problem with this kind of self-deception is that the source is YOU (or rather, your heart), which makes the deception nearly inescapable. Not to mention, if even *I* don’t understand my own heart…then who does?? Ultimately, if what we are believing isn’t true, then we are living in a fantasy world. We are like the fanatic that dresses up in a superhero costume and jumps off a high-rise while echoing the popular song, “I believe I can fly!” It doesn’t matter how firmly our hearts have deceived us into believing something if it isn’t true. If I stand out in the middle of a busy lane, blind-folded and yell defiantly, “I don’t believe in traffic!” What’s going to happen? Can you visualize it? It would be an ugly and tragic sight. I’d like to think that I’d have some loved ones around me to shake me from my delusion.

This brings me to my next point. If we are the source of our own self-deception, how can we possibly escape it? I’d like to propose 4 solutions: One, surround yourself with friends who will tell you the truth even when it smarts a bit. Another favorite proverb of mine is “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” If the people around you are constantly numbing you and themselves to life’s difficult questions and trials with meaningless activities and praises, then I recommend you find a group of friends who will challenge you to grow as a person both in character and deed (as the two are inseparable). Two, find a way to process out the things that you are dealing with. Whether that is journaling, praying, or counseling with a trusted friend, sometimes you just need a “sounding board” to figure out what’s real and concrete in your life (But…a word of warning, be mindful, your friends are susceptible as well). The pause-inducing fact of universal self-deception brings me to my third tip, whole-heartedly search for the truth of a matter, no matter what it is. If you dedicate your life to pursuing truth no matter where it leads you, then your path will be sure and your feet will not slip. Do not assume that you already have the truth because you may only have part or have been unwittingly convinced of an untruth somewhere in your past.  I primarily cultivate this by being a continual open-minded learner and listener (but not so open-minded that my brain falls out). If I maintain a teachable heart and ask myself, “Is there truth here? Is there something new that I can learn from this person/idea?” then I believe I’m well on my way to escaping the deceit of my own heart. After all, it is only revealed input from the outside that will help me align my heart with the truth in the innermost part of my being. [While I’m on the subject, a warning to those of you who have everything “figured out” (although if you’re reading this I suspect that may not be the case): if you are not “teachable” you will never grow and will remain the same person your entire life; unable to be corrected, you will be unable to be encouraged; unable to be a learner, you will never have anything of substance to offer anyone else. In short, be teachable or stay where you are until your sojourn here expires. I say this harshly that I might “wound” some of you into life and healing].

In summary, in order to fight the natural self-deception of our hearts you must:

  1. Surround yourself with loved ones who will challenge you to grow (even if it hurts a little)
  2. Live a life of self-reflection and “analysis” through things like prayer, journaling, and wise counsel
  3. Don’t let truth escape you. Bind it around your neck and write it on your heart. Search for it like you would hidden treasure. If you don’t find it as you search, it will more than likely find you.

I sincerely hope that whatever wisdom I have to offer has shone through and helps guide you along your path and that whatever is not true would fall on deaf ears and blind eyes. Thanks for reading and I pray you found something to carry with you and that if it helped, you’ll share it with a friend.