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May 9, 1997

A View from the Heart

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With their mouths they bless, but in their hearts they curse. PSALM 62:4
Some people are horrible liars, usually because they simply lack the practice. With a little effort, they no doubt could develop the skill.
All it takes for starters is a few honest compliments, and those are easy enough. Nice dress. Good work on the Boatman account. Are you losing weight?
Pretty soon, everybody loves Mr. Nice Guy because he always has a kind word. And what’s wrong with being Mr. Nice Guy? Nothing, if you have a pure heart. Too often, however, we find ourselves slipping into the mode of giving compliments and providing encouraging words because we think we will get something out of it.
We don’t act like Mr. Nice Guy because we like people. We just want a raise. We just want more power. We just want to get ahead. If the people around us could only read our minds, they would know how we really feel: We actually think her dress is ugly. We’re mad because he was two weeks late closing the Boatman account. And there’s no way he’s lost weight; he’s only wearing bigger clothes.
Is this how we are called to treat each other? Do we really think God won’t notice that the words of our lips don’t match the motivations in our hearts?
This doesn’t mean you have to verbalize every thought that comes to your mind. If you think your coworker’s dress is ugly, just don’t say anything about it at all. Ditto for any other situation in which you might be tempted to tell a lie to flatter someone who might be able to do something for you later. Limit your praise for occasions that truly deserve it. That way, your lips will match your motivations.

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