I heard about "the Good Heart" at the Ransomed Heart, Captivating retreat. It took a few days for it to sink in. The premise is: what IF we could interact with others as if we knew they had a good heart--knew they meant nothing but the best for us? Of course, in an average day that probably isn't the best way to approach life, but it does change the world around you fundamentally when you get it.
They have a very specific message which I have twisted a bit, I must admit. (It's a fabulous message, and worth listening to...but applies more to my religious readers than those that are not...although I'm sure the Ransomed Heart team would cringe at the term "religious".) I know quite a few people who would never willingly hurt me. Coming to just that realization has taken time. The problem is that some of them have hurt me deeply.
Here's how it would play out. Suppose I have a friend who says or does something that deeply wounds me. I can react in one of two ways: I can say, "oh, how terrible of her to attack me!" or I can say, "That hurt. She has a good heart towards me and would never want to cause me pain. I wonder what is at the root of this problem?" In the first scenario, the friendship is toast. In the second, the door is open for a healthy dialogue that will likely result in not only a deepening of the friendship, but also a greater understanding of myself and my friend. Logically, I'd prefer the second outcome.
But oh -- what an incredibly deep burden that puts on the person who has been "wronged."
A dear friend recently chided me for being angry with another friend. This person had committed a series of offences towards me -- in my opinion.
"Did you ever tell her you were hurt? Upset? Did you even mention you were annoyed?"
I had to admit I had not. I'd never said a word. I'd just quietly continued trying to make everything okay. But I'd been angry...and a little more angry each time. Until....
"Then you don't get to be angry now."
How evil is that? How grossly unfair! I felt I had every right to be angry...and yet. Since the advice came from my logical friend who always has a valid point, I sat down and thought over what she'd said...and then attempted to fix the relationship I had just damaged so deeply by my sudden explosion of anger. In the ensuing discussion, I learned a lot more about the person who had so deeply hurt me -- she had no thought or intention to do any such thing. No, instead she'd had a good heart towards me, but something got twisted between her heart's message and my heart's receiving of that message.
Think about that for a moment. You want to communicate something. If we were psychic (see this DOES apply to the book I'm writing), we could just zap the message from our mind to the mind of the person we're communicating with...but sadly, telepathy is short on the ground these days. The more I learn about the art of communication, the more surprised I am that any of us ever have a clue what anyone else is saying.
I find myself jealous of the characters in my novel who can understand each other and avoid so many of the basic misunderstandings of life. There are so many fundamental issues in life that we may approach with such stunning variances of purpose. Let me give just one example:
That's it. What does that word evoke in your heart? For me, it brings out a number of negative emotions including fear, distrust and resentment.
My friend sees money as a gift. She uses it, multiplies it, blesses it with her life, and blesses others. She truly has a good heart.
Me, I'm just glad I found Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University.
When I write for my blog, I'm often conscious of who will read it. Will they be offended? Will they see the heart of what I'm saying? I have such a blessing of wonderful friends from all different backgrounds! I've always felt that friends should be collected like stamps: the more variety, the better. But that makes communication a challenge when I try to write for all of them at once. I jokingly include warnings that my posts will likely offend my non-Christian friends, but those warnings could easily offend my Christian friends! Anything we write is likely to offend someone.
Well, when reading my blog, you're just going to have to assume I have a "good heart."