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1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; but the Lord looks on the heart.”

As Halloween draws near, I was thinking of the masks we wear at times in public. We try to hide behind a facade, not letting our guard down with one another. I claim to be a Christian, but do I reflect a Christian image to the world? God sees us in all our raw beauty and, of course, he sees inside. All the makeup and fancy clothes mean nothing to Him! He sees our heart as He counseled Samuel to do in his search for the next king. How does your heart appear to the world? Do you walk the Christian life or just talk it?

As Jim and I were having our house renovated due to the water damage we’d experienced, we prayed fervently for the Lord to strengthen us in our Christian walk and actions. We prayed for help in remembering and reflecting the fruits of the spirit in our dealing with others. We asked God to empower the Holy Spirit within both of us to thwart our worldly tendencies. Overall, I think we did fairly well, but I nearly lost it in dealing with the men installing the new flooring. We’d been told they would arrive by 9:00AM and I’d risen at 5:30AM that morning in order to make sure our pets were fed and made comfortable before their territory was invaded by outsiders. Well, they didn’t arrive until 2:35PM and all feeding schedules were stalled for the late afternoon. By 6:00PM we wondered how long the work would continue and were told they would finish in another hour. I confronted them at 7:30PM and told them I was at my wits end. Dark was closing in and my animals were not secure. I walked off to cool down and remind myself of the book of James and guarding the tongue. Jim, seeing me so upset, stepped in and told the men they had to leave. They did!

When we both had time to cool down, we wished we had acted differently. Charles Stanley always cautions to never react when too tired, too hungry or too angry. We’d reached our limit in all three cases, but still that didn’t make it right. We asked God to forgive us, but we wished to have the opportunity to apologize to the men. Yesterday, we had that chance. Thank You, Lord, for Your love and guidance! We exchanged handshakes all around and they were most kind in offering sympathy for our actions.

After this, I think we both will be more critical of ourselves and less of others. Our hearts yearn to be more Christlike and less worldly. May the next test reflect our growth in this area. Our Lord is forgiving and we need to reflect that forgiveness in our dealings with others. The pets wouldn’t die by eating later than usual, and although our nerves were stretched to the limit, our rash behavior didn’t allow us to feel better. What would Jesus have done? He’d have borne the inconvenience and maintained His love for others. May our hearts grow to be more like His! Through patience and prayer, we will pass our next heart check-up.