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February 7, 1997

What We Do Affects Who We Are

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Extortion turns a wise man into a fool, and a bribe corrupts the heart. ECCLESIASTES 7:7
We would like to believe that who we are is separate from actions that we undertake, that our inner being is protected even when our actions are less than perfect. But Solomon contends that what we do today will have a profound effect on the state of our hearts: “Extortion,” he says, “turns a wise man into a fool, and a bribe corrupts the heart” (Ecclesiastes 7:7).
Every day, we make decisions. We decide to forgive, to cheat, to show grace, to get even, to play fair, to push our positions of power, to do things legally, or to do things unethically.
When we play in the mud, we get our clothes dirty. When we engage in wrong behavior, compromising ethics, or skewed thinking, we get our hearts dirty.
How that transformation happens is a mystery. It isn’t necessarily something that we can explain. The process may happen over time. But it does happen. When we engage in bad action, the result is bad hearts.
Knowing that ahead of time allows us to avoid the trap. It also gives us a greater sense of accountability for our actions. Nobody wakes up in the morning and wants a bad heart. But one of the ways a bad heart develops is by actions that are inappropriate.
What does your heart look like? If it has become dirty through unethical practices, then confess your sin to God and let Him cleanse you from your unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

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