Matters of the Heart

Life Sunday – Isaiah 40:1-2

You have undoubtedly heard it before; and you will most certainly hear it again: think with your head and not with your heart.

It is a popular line in sports, particularly when referring to players that are past their prime; the heart sees greatness, while the head sees the effects of age and injury. It is a line that is spoken when it comes to business, that one must invest based on the facts of demographics and potential customers, and not where one’s heart lies. It is even spoken when it comes to world events; your heart may tell you that things can change for the better; but your head must prepare for the worst.

It makes sense after all. The facts are before you, whether in statistics or in polling data or in the words written clearly on a page or spoken into a microphone. Why should you let your heart or emotions get in the way, when clear and convincing evidence is before you?

More often than not, your heart will cause you hardship and struggles, while your head will lead you to safety.

But to allow your head to make decisions for you, does pose a problem in that your head may indeed make the decision that is scientifically or mathematically correct; your head may look at the facts and make the logical decision; but does using your head and not your heart, really always make the right decision when it comes to matters of life and of faith?

A young single woman, all set for college, suddenly finds that she is pregnant. Her head looks at the situation of being unemployed, no college degree, and no help from anyone, and determines that the best course of action is an abortion.

A family looks at their dying father and determines that rather than watching him suffer for weeks on end, the best course of action is to employ physician assisted suicide. Their heads tell them that this is the merciful thing to do, and maybe, it is even the financially proper thing to do.

Two young men look at each other, determine that they are in love, and that they should be married. After all, when they read the law of the land, they see that it is legal; what is to stop them?

A new politician looks at the polls and determines that despite his faithful upbringing in the Church, that he has a better chance of being elected, and not just holding onto office for many years, but advancing to higher office, if he tosses those religious convictions to the curb and instead supports things that are popular in the world’s eyes, even if they go against God’s will.

The proven facts lay before each of these people in their own familiar situations. The math and the science all clearly and decisively pointed to one thing over the other; yet what was the end result?

The end result is sin; whether that sin be abortion or assisted suicide or homosexual marriage or selling your beliefs out for personal advancement; the head often leads to sin when confronted with issues that are clearly laid out in God’s Word, but that at the same time do not line up with what modern day society is doing.

It is not logical to have a child with a debilitating disease, or to have a child which will grow up in a home that is bound to suffer under financial and relational hardships; and yet the Word of God says that every life is precious; created by God for holiness.

It often seems inhumane to watch a person suffer; and yet, we know that like Job, one’s own suffering in faith can strengthen the faith of those around them.

With so many struggles in marriages between men and women, it may seem hypocritical to forbid same-sex marriage to those who love each other; and yet the Word of the Lord is clear that marriage is between one man and one woman.

Some who would be of great benefit to this nation will indeed not hold office, or will not rise to prominence due to their Christian faith; but the Word of the Lord is clear when Christ says that those who deny Him before men, He also will deny before His Father in heaven, and those who confess Christ before men, He also will confess before His Father in heaven.

And so on this Life Sunday, as we hear the Word that this is indeed a wicked and crooked and twisted generation in which we live; and as we are reminded once more that those who go against the Word of the Lord are indeed sinful and unclean; and as we hear that as believers we are to recognize that there are indeed times when the heart must take precedence over the head in matters of faith, there is one more reminder for us who sit in the pews today.

It is not just a matter of the heart when one is faced with these situations of life and love and standing up in the public square; it is also a matter of the heart when we encounter those who have done wrong in thinking with their head and not with their heart.

For our own heads are prone to declare that one who has sinned against life, or against marriage, or against religious freedom, deserve the full and unmerciful punishment unleashed upon them for their sins by God Himself; that those who use their heads in destroying life at any age; that those who are to cowardly to confess Jesus in the presence of men; that those who check their faith at the door; that they need to be punished severely.

Our own heads have led us to believe that there are some sins that cannot be forgiven for they are too great in the eyes of God. Our own heads have led us to exclude from the grace and mercy of God those who have repented of their own head thinking when it comes to matters of life.

And yes, we too would be guilty of thinking with our heads and not with our hearts.

We too need to repent, and seek the Lord’s forgiveness for our own head thinking as opposed to heart thinking.

For contrary to what your head may tell you, the blood of Jesus has been shed for all those who repent of their sins.

And that is the ultimate matter of the heart. The head cannot understand how the Son of God could come to earth, suffer and die and rise, and bestow the riches of His grace and glory upon sinful human beings like you and I; and yet, the heart knows it to be true; for that is indeed what God has declared it to be.

And so the blood of Jesus has been shed for all the would-be mothers and would-be fathers who see abortion as the only option. The blood of Jesus has been shed for those who in moments of weakness sought assisted suicide as a way out. The blood of Jesus has been shed for those who are confused by the ways of the culture and by the law of the land. The blood of Jesus is shed for those who are trying to get in the door of the public square.

And yes, the blood of Jesus is shed even for those who think with their heads and not with their hearts when it comes to dealing with those who thought with their own heads as opposed to their own hearts.

The blood of Jesus is not something that can be understood with the head; the blood of Jesus shed on Calvary’s cross, washing us clean of the sins of the head that we commit in thought, word and deed is something that is particular to the heart.

For with the heart one believes and confesses that Jesus is Lord, and thereby receives the crown of eternal life. That is the reward for thinking with the heart: the heart yields life eternal in Jesus name.

About revschmidt

An LCMS Pastor in North-Central Kansas
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