by Tim Hall
Ill feelings harbored in a heart will find a way to get out.
All at the news conference had been screened for weapons. When two heads of state are present, you can be sure security will be tight. But no one thought to order shoes to be left at the door. If reporter Muntazer al-Zaidi had not been wearing his shoes, he would not today be facing a 15-year prison sentence.
Zaidi was covering the press conference in Baghdad, Iraq which featured George W. Bush in his final visit to that nation as U.S. President. It was not the first time Zaidi had been in Bush’s presence. For years his anger toward Bush had grown, but his intention was not to harm Bush. When he threw both his shoes at the President it was meant as the ultimate insult.
At his trial yesterday Zaidi said that he didn’t intend to throw his shoes when he did. He had envisioned himself doing so many times, and had even videotaped himself as he fantasized hurling insults at the man he held responsible for the devastation of Iraq. When he saw Bush “smiling icily” during the press conference, the rage inside him boiled over. It was no longer a fantasy. He was acting out the visions that had been kept in his heart.
Too often we all tolerate ill feelings in our hearts. “Who will know?” we think as we continue mulling over past offenses and grudges. Do we really expect such malicious thoughts to do no damage to our souls? That they will not spill out in a moment of rage?
Jesus warned us about harboring evil thoughts of any type: “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matthew 15:18,19, NKJV). A person would not speak blasphemies or commit fornication if the thoughts were not first in the heart.
The wise man gave the same advice centuries before, in Proverbs 4:23: “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Keeping our hearts pure is one of the great challenges we have been given.
It’s hard to keep a heart pure when it gazes daily upon scenes of wickedness. A heart that feeds only upon television programming and Hollywood’s fare will be stocked with all the wrong sorts of thoughts.
Those who are serious about the Lord’s serious charge will see the wisdom of Paul’s admonition in Philippians 4:8:
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.”
Let us fill our souls with pure and wholesome thoughts that come from God’s word.