Examine your heart for empathy, forgiveness for others

By KATE WALSH SOUCHERAY – Gazette Columnist

Examine your heart today to see if there is any evil there, for God does not respond to us in a favorable manner when we hold animosity or hostility toward someone in our hearts. And yet, if our heart is filled with forgiveness and empathy for others, God will be kind and compassionate toward us.

This passage begins by stating, "If we had cherished evil in our heart." To cherish something is to treasure it, to take pleasure in it or to attach great importance to it. Imagine taking great pleasure in feeling badly about someone in our heart? And yet that’s what we do when we hold a grudge or refuse to forgive, even if an infraction is decades old. We hold onto whatever makes us feel good, something that offers us sustenance. Doesn’t it seem fruitless to get our good feelings from taking pleasure in how much we dislike someone for something they did to us years and years ago?

The Psalmist quietly affirms that, "If I had cherished evil in my heart, God would not have heard." He goes on to write, "But God did hear and listened to my voice in prayer," which indicates that he did cherish evil in his heart and that God listened anyway. How much better could things have been if he had given up his grudge and replaced it with forgiveness?

Are you holding a grudge against someone at this time? Or perhaps I should rephrase that question, "Are you cherishing evil in your heart?" Decide today to turn away from this life-stealing practice and pray to God about how to heal the difficulty you experience with this person. Be open to what you hear in our heart and do whatever He asks to help bring healing to your relationship.

Kate Walsh Soucheray is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Stillwater. She works at Christian Heart Counseling at 275 Third Street South and can be reached at [email protected] or 651-439-2059 ext. 718.