Recently, someone, in describing the faults and weaknesses of another, ended with the comment, “but----has a good heart!” This understanding and forbearance has preserved an ongoing friendship for many years. They had been able to look past the obvious, and to look deeper.

In a world living by the law of first impressions, it seems that so many never think of looking beneath the surface - of situations, and people. This requires ability to think independently, and unconventionally. Jesus said that “out of the heart” proceed evils, and so it is. He was pointing out our natural bent. When evils come out of us, certainly it is because it was in our heart first (Jeremiah 17:9). The heart condition of all before the flood had deteriorated by the time of Noah to the point that God had no choice but to destroy them (Genesis 6:5). There can be a point of no return. It will eventually reach that point again. Jesus will have no choice but to destroy mankind and all his works on the earth (2 Peter 3:10).

But there are other things in our hearts - the hearts of all of us are the repository of many and varying degrees on the scale of evil and good. Samuel learned the lesson about the heart-look before he anointed David rather than his first impression choice (1 Samuel 16:7). This is one of the fruits of the episode in the garden of Eden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. We are a mixture, and not infrequently, a bad mixture. But it is a mixture. And as we grow, if Christ is in us, the mixture becomes more and more a positive content. So there are degrees, even in a “good heart”.

Sometimes the looking on the heart by God is used as a cop-out, and escape route, a way to brush off and excuse sin, with “...but God knows my heart!” Of course, He does - and that can be an even bigger problem unless there is eventually confession and repentance. When God looks at us, does He nod His head in dismay in an almost hopeless resignation, or does he always season His observation with the grace of a heart-look, as He considers each of us? Does He measure us by our standard of measure?

When Christ calls us out of the world and into Himself, He does not change His mind later, and regret His choice. He does not change horses in the middle of a stream. His choices are without revocation (Numbers 23:19; Romans 11:29). God knows where we are and where are coming from. But He knows, and is guided in His dealings with us, by where He is taking us. He looks deeper into us than we can, or ever will be able to look into ourselves. In accomplishing this, His Word comes into play.

The Word of God cuts and pierces our very soul, searching out, dividing, separating between trivia, the temporary, the permanent, the real and the pretentious (Hebrews 4:12). It knows whether sin is entrenched and settled in our hearts, or if it is there because of stress, temptation, or willful tolerance, or welcome acceptance. The written Word through the living Word, the Spirit of Jesus - is fully aware that our natural hearts are deceitful above all other considerations, and even desperately prone to sin - like a magnet tenaciously drawing us relentlessly down into ever more wickedness - realized and unrealized by our conscious awareness (Galatians 5:19-21). The downward pulls of our natural state are all known and foreknown by Jesus. He is never surprised. Neither is He ever impressed by a “good heart”, as we are sometimes tempted to be. Discernment of motives and intents of the deep heart is a primary function of the Holy Spirit, and is apparently a gift to very few others. A very dramatic example of this special discernment is seen in the Apostle Peter in his insight into Simon the sorcerer, who is also a prime example of false conversion (Acts 8:9-23). God looks for water, no matter how deep the well of the heart may be. If there is little or none, He can fill it with living waters (John 4:10-11; 7:38).

But in the light of all this and more, He is ever mindful of where He is taking us, and what His plan for us is - to ultimately do us good, and to create a clean heart in us, and finally cloth us with everlasting life. He has performed a “heart-look“. He knows what it is and where it is. And then He sees what we will be. Because He has willed it so. Sometimes we may need heart surgery; or, just a tune-up. He will perfect our hearts. In all of His dealing with us, He sees both what is, but even more, what will be. In His heart-look, He sees the final result. And that is why we are always secure. That is why, no matter what seems to be today, we can rest our hearts in Him. You can rest assured of a final perfect heart. You can rest in Him, because “he is still working” on you. He will finish what He has begun with my heart and yours (Matthew 5:8).

And when you consider others, look deeper - do a “heart-look”. Ask Christ to grant you insight by the Holy Spirit. Perhaps their heart needs mending. If so, God may use you in some way to mend a heart broken by sorrow, sin, or circumstance. Maybe they only need a “heart-song”, or a "cup of water"... from you...from your heart (Mark 9:41).

Regardless of where your heart is today - He sees beyond all that, and if He knows you, and He lives in you, He sees if you “have a good heart”...and if it is broken, He knows how to mend broken hearts - growing new hearts, and mending broken ones.

Because that's what He does...

“Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance, and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.” - Proverbs 4:23 (Amplified Bible)