“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” – Jeremiah 17:9-10
Over the weekend, the state of Texas witnessed its second mass shooting in the month of August as a 36 year-old-man identified as Seth Ator went on a shooting spree after being pulled over by Texas troopers for not using a turn signal.
After Ator pulled his vehicle to the side of the road, he immediately opened fire on the police officers and sped away while shooting at nearby residents and drivers. Shortly after, Ator abandoned his gold Honda and stole a postal truck on his way to Odessa, TX where he was killed in a shootout with police in a movie theater parking lot.
With every shooting incident that occurs in the United States, the issue of gun control takes center stage. Many political, religious, and human rights activists seek to use these horrific acts to push their own agendas. This should not be our first response.
First and foremost, we want to remember and pray for those affected. Those that lost loved ones need comfort and love now more than ever. No one is suggesting that prayer will eliminate such evils from occurring but 1 Peter 3:12a says, “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer.”
Secondly, the issue of gun control is important but no amount of legislation can completely irradicate the real deadly weapon—the heart. Matthew 15:19 says “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” Guns are a tool in which evil people use to play out the deceitful wickedness of their hearts.
In Jeremiah’s assessment of the sin of Judah, he alludes to the fact that the people had been foolishly led astray by their deceitful and wicked hearts. Not only is the human heart evil, but it’s also deceitful in the way it manifests this evil.
When people use the phrase, “just follow your heart,” they don’t realize what they are actually saying. Although police have yet to determine the motive behind the Texas gunman’s actions, reports indicate that he had just been fired from his trucking job.
Seth Ator was angry, upset, and perhaps wanting others to feel the same pain he did. These feelings he was having were a reflection of the condition of his heart, and so, he acted upon them—he “followed his heart.” The Lord gave to Ator “according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds” when the police took his life.
It’s important that you understand your own heart. As Christians, we are endowed with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Although the Spirit reveals the true intentions of our hearts when it attempts to deceive us, our sinful flesh still fights back.
A daily war rages on inside our heart and we need to seek God’s wisdom in how to thwart off the enemy. Do not react upon the first emotion you experience when you are angry, upset, or hurt. This is how your heart deceives you to make rash decisions that could have permanent consequences.
Do NOT follow your heart but rather, follow the Spirit. “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth” (John 16:13a).