Jesus wants to know, ” Why do you think evil and harbor malice in your hearts?”
Why do we? It never does anyone any good now does it? So why?
Why do we think evil? Oh, I know you don’t think evil – that is such a harsh word isn’t it? Evil, I can almost hear Vincent Price saying it. Eeevil. So what is evil anyway? Well if we look up the original meaning it implies hurtful. Ouch, rethinking whether you have had any evil thoughts now?
Notice that the people Jesus is speaking to did not say anything. They didn’t share what they were thinking with each other. They didn’t even utter a audible word, they just thought to themselves. How many times have you done that very thing? Have you had long conversations with your self which included hurtful *clears throat* or should I say evil thoughts about someone else?
In Romans 12 we find Paul writing about this in depth. He says, “ If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Wow, doesn’t that feel like a daunting task? Thankfully, Paul has given us a few ways to accomplish this:
o Do not be conformed to this world – be transformed, renew your mind – why? So that you can discern what is good, acceptable, and right in God’s eyes, not just your own. We have to get past our own preferences, our own wants, and find out what God’s is. If we can see people through God’s thoughts, we might not have such hurtful thoughts. If the Pharisees had known who Jesus was to God, do you think they would have treated him the way they did? Do you think they would have had such evil thoughts about him? I don’t think so.
o Don’t have an exaggerated opinion of yourself. Ouch! When we start to think we know everything or our ways are the only right ways, we get ourselves into trouble. Without looking, let me ask you something, who were the men in Matthew 9 who were thinking these hurtful thoughts? Was it disciples? Was it the Sadducees ? The Pharisees? I bet you picked one of the last two, but no, look at the text again. It was scribes! These people were supposed to be the people who scribed the copies of the law, and yes, they could possibly be a Pharisee as well. They could draft legal documents because of their knowledge of the law. Dare I say they might be like a lawyer today *gasp*. You would have thought they would have been able to examine the evidence and would have known who Jesus really was. Boy, did they think a little too highly of themselves? They thought that their way was the only right way. They thought they knew everything! This only lead to their hurtful thoughts about Jesus.
o Know your gifts and use them, don’t be worried about everyone else and what they should or shouldn’t be doing. Everyone has a place and a purpose, and it isn’t for me to decide your purpose, no more than it is you who should decide mine. God gives us gifts, what is yours? Are you using yours? These guys could have used their knowledge, their gifting, to know who Jesus was, but instead, they were more concerned about who Jesus thought he was. Don’t presume to know what role the guy next to you is suppose to play. Figure out your role and play it, let God tell them what their role is, otherwise, it might lead you to hurtful thoughts about them.
o Let your love be sincere and hold fast to what is good. Yes, there is evil in this world, but it isn’t always what WE think is evil. If you want to know what is evil, search it out in the Bible, otherwise, don’t worry about it. Keep good thoughts about people. I heard in a podcast by Andy Stanley – Always assume the best of someone. Always assume they have the best intentions, even when at first glance it doesn’t look like. Hold fast to what is good. Instead of letting your mind and heart think hurtful, think positive. What are some good qualities about that person? Are you made because you think they are a sinner and it doesn’t look like anyone is making them pay for their sins? Well, what about
you having to pay for your sins, or do you think you never had any? hmmm better give that one another thought huh?
o Love, given preference, and honor to one another. Yeah, I like the thought of this one – I sure would like people to give me preference and honor, who wouldn’t. Imagine if everyone actually did just this one thing. Can you imagine the change that could happen? The hurts that could be healed? The arguments that could be avoided? I think this one can sum up the next few which include being patient, meeting needs, being hospitable, blessing those who persecute you, go on, you can read it.
The point is, there are many things we can do besides allow those hurtful thoughts and feelings to take over. Wait, lets call it what it really is, evil in our hearts. It isn’t long until we start speaking evil as well, since the Bible also tells us that out of the heart the mouth speaks.
So, examine your thoughts. Examine your feelings. Is Jesus asking you, ” Why do you have such evil thoughts in your hearts?”