“Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.” (Psalm 119:36 TNIV)
The word heartless is a strong one. Personally, I don’t like it. It reminds me of time in my life where I was heartless.
It was not because I was motivated by hurt, pain or anger. However, these emotions are at the root of being heartless. It was because of my work, I needed to be tough, I needed to be indifferent to the pain of others and suppressed my own.
When I was working as an assistant producer for the news programme, I came across so much suffering and atrocious images that most people are not allowed to watch because of broadcast censure and moral and ethical policies.
I remember the day we covered a terrorist shooting that took place. A local police station was attacked with heavy machine guns, and the police somehow fired back to the point that the terrorists fled on a white van. There was a massive police hunt, and the call came into our radio that a white van has been stopped, fired at and there was one fatal casualty. We took our mobile broadcasting unit, and we raced behind the police only to find out that the white van was driven by a 13-year-old who took the van from his home for a ride with his friends when the police asked them to stop he did not and panicking drove away, yet they did not get that far when another when the police unite opened fire killing the 13-year-old boy who was driving. When we got to cover the tragic incident, we set up our equipment near enough for us the see the van and the body of the boy inside, which was covered by a paramedic blanket.
We went live on national television reporting from the most unfortunate incident that I can remember being part of.
We set out to cover a terrorist attack, and we ended up with a boy been killed, a family torn apart, a community in pieces and a policeman suffering the shocked of firing on an innocent boy. We went live on air, we did a professional job, and we got back to the station knowing that professionalism has to be first and yet as we drove back no one spoke a word. That night I went to my bed being thankful that I was alive but with my heart turning much colder.
It is possible to have a heartless heart, to become cold and distant, indifferent and apart. We do that to protect ourselves of the pain, we take it on the sheen and move on, suppressing our emotions, and we keep telling ourselves that all will be well when deep down we know how hard it is. I found out that this heartless attitude was a selfish one, there were people in my life that loved me, they still are loving me, yet at the time that was hard to process and even though I knew God loved me my heart became hard like a hard stone to receive his love.
I can now tell you that I am not the same person I was then, the Lord who sees my heart has changed and is changing me. This why I find this Psalm so encouraging and full of truth. “Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain”. Statues is another way to say the WORD of the Lord. It was an encounter with the Love of God that I broke into my heart, I felt his love in an indescribable measure, the Lord used one of my favourite Bible teachers a former Norwegian Baptist Pastor, Leif Hetland, to pray for me and received a strong impartation of love.
Jesus said that His Words and Spirit and Life and I have found that to be true. His word has the creative power to turn a heartless heart into a loving heart. There is still so much more I need to learn and grow and yet I can testify that when our hearts are positioned in such a way towards Him, he then delights in us as much as he delights in his Son Jesus.
“Seek the Lord while he may be found, call on him while he is near” (Isa. 55:6 NIV)