Your cheating heart will tell on you is a line from an old song by Hank Williams called Your Cheatin’ Heart. It was recorded a few years before most of us alive today were born. Yet I find this line so relevant to what is happening now.
What is a cheating heart? In the song it is a woman whose heart is bent on two timing her man. Her heart was divided between what she was doing and what she was presenting. You could say she had deceit hidden in her heart. She was a hypocrite.
Today we see many people with a cheating heart. They claim to follow God and present themselves as fine Christians who follow the Bible and love their neighbors and follow the ten commandments. Then they support causes of violence and murder such as candidates who favor abortions. They turn a blind eye to the poor in their own towns and cities while spending thousands on oversea mission trips. Would this make them hypocrites?
When Christians get so caught up in the affairs of the world that we no longer look to Jesus as the answer are our hearts not divided? Are we not sliding into hypocrisy and deceiving ourselves? It is easy to be dragged into the world’s affairs these days. There seems no grey area. There is the majority who feel they must remain silent for their own safety and there is the mob of bullies who are loud and attention seeking.
Where is your heart in all this? If I am forced into making choices between two poor options, my heart will not be in them. For example, if I must choose between agreeing with riotous mobs or being bullied into silence over my political beliefs, either choice is not my true desire. My heart will not be satisfied and it will be cheating since I will present as if I am in silent agreement of the one side while being too afraid to say anything on behalf of the other side.
In this type of no-win scenario that we see breaking out more and more it is very difficult to remain true to our beliefs. Our hearts hurt. Many people simply try to avoid the events around them and many people choose a side and blame their perceived opponents for all the troubles. The middle ground is getting smaller by the day.
When there is little middle ground, we get squeezed until we finally decide which side of the fence we are on. This is true of the walk with Christ as well. We are either for him or against him. There is no fence sitting here. I am for Jesus, so, if I allow myself to be pushed into actions or thoughts contrary to what Jesus says, then I have a cheating heart. My heart does not match my beliefs.
If I do this just once, my conscience will start bugging me until I correct my error or seek forgiveness or both. My cheating heart is set right and no longer hurts. If I do this on a regular basis, my heart is divided. My beliefs tell it that what I am thinking or doing is wrong. If I do this often enough my heart becomes divided between what it thinks I ought to do and what I am doing. This causes anxiety, stress guilt, and shame among many other feelings and consequences. The result is a hidden agenda and a contradiction between who I present myself to be and who I am in private. This is hypocrisy. This is a cheating heart.
And this is also how addictions work. And this is also how sin works.
Anything that divides our heart and causes us to be hide ourselves is bad for us. Our mental health needs us to be true to our beliefs. It needs our hearts to be whole and not divided over what we believe and what we do.
When the news consistently fear-mongers us and when voices are silenced through violence or aggression it is difficult to not cower and give in to the forces around us. For some it is equally hard to not lash out. There is division everywhere in society. Don’t let it enter your heart as well.
As Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:8 “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed.” It takes a whole and focused heart to withstand.
Andy Becker is a retired counsellor and author of The Travelers, a fictionalized account of spiritual warfare (available on Amazon) as is, Stupid Thyroid, a book he co-wrote with his wife, Stella. Andy and his wife, Stella, lead Lighthouse Ministry in North Central Regina, one of Canada’s poorest and roughest areas. He is a retired counselor, speaker, and writer. Andy Becker is working on his second book about spiritual warfare. His first book, The Travelers, is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.