Like flowing water is the heart of the king in the hand of the Lord,
who turns it where he pleases.
A man’s conduct may strike him as upright,
the Lord, however, weighs the heart.
To act virtuously and with justice
is more pleasing to the Lord than sacrifice.
Haughty eye, proud heart,
lamp of the wicked, nothing but sin.
The hardworking man is thoughtful, and all is gain;
too much haste, and all that comes of it is want.
To make a fortune with the help of a lying tongue,
such the idle fantasy of those who look for death.
The wicked man’s soul is intent on evil,
he looks on his neighbour with dislike.
When a mocker is punished, the ignorant man grows wiser,
when a wise man is instructed he acquires more knowledge.
The Just One watches the house of the wicked:
he hurls the wicked to destruction.
He who shuts his ear to the poor man’s cry
shall himself plead and not be heard.
The mother and the brothers of Jesus came looking for him, but they could not get to him because of the crowd. He was told, ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside and want to see you’ But he said in answer, ‘My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and put it into practice.’
A man’s conduct may strike him as upright, the Lord, however, weighs the heart…
If I am honest with myself, there are plenty of times when I am pleasant with others or perform a good deed for them, but my motives are not entirely altruistic. That is not to say that there is a Machiavellian element to my behavior nor am I scheming to harm someone, but I reflect on the pureness of my words and actions.
What do I mean? Well, do my actions and words aim to gain recognition and favor with others, to win in the arena of public opinion, or do they truly manifest the teachings of Christ selflessly? Like the many selfies posted on the internet, do they truly reflect the reality or are they doctored to present an intended image?
We may be judging ourselves and others based on actions and words, and in our eyes, they are just and pure. However, the Lord, who is infinitely wiser, looks at our hearts and intentions. If our intention is to deceive and misguide, then our ‘good’ deeds lack the meaning they deserve. However, if our intention is to live according to what Jesus taught us, even the smallest good deed will carry much more meaning and is so much more pleasing to our Heavenly Father.
When I reflect on what was in my heart in the past, I would say that reputation was a big concern. Secondly, I was afraid of God’s retribution if I misbehaved. However, as I learn a little more about Catholicism, I come to realize that fear is not the emotion, nor should it be the motivation to do what is right. We want to do what is right and pleasing to God because we love Him above all else. We do not want to hurt anyone we love; at least, not intentionally. When the Lord looks into our hearts, He doesn’t want to see fear but love – love of God and love of neighbors.
We should continue to do good and conduct ourselves in a manner that is pleasing to both God and man; but let’s put God first and be more concern about Jesus’ judgement than man’s. After all, what is earthly, is transient, but what is heavenly, is eternal.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Winnie Kung)
Prayer: We pray that our hearts be filled with love of God and neighbors, so that our actions and words follow the full intent of this love.
Thanksgiving: We thank you for the unconditional and undying love of the Lord. For second chances and the opportunity to do the right thing.