“Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5
That’s not what I would have expected from such an ancient “book.” I would have expected that here in the very beginning of history when man was so young in his time upon this earth that the emphasis would have focused more on the outward – “. . .the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that all of his actions were only evil continually.” (italics and emphasis mine.) But instead of placing the emphasis on the actions of man, the Bible correctly places the emphasis on his imagination – “the thoughts of his heart.” It was before its time. In a day when society was only looking at the actions of men, God was looking deep down into man’s heart to see his imaginations and listening to the thoughts of his heart. The reason for this, as one wise, old pastor put it, is because “the mother of the deed is the thought.” The thought comes first.
When we look at our world today, and even into the trials and tragedies, faults and failures of our lives we must not look at the deeds of the day, but rather at the thoughts of yesterday. All corruption starts with a flawed imagination. In other words from our wicked hearts we birth and nurse some sinful idea that then becomes a sinful action. The origin of sin is a thought that we think is good – at least for us at that time.
We see it and experience it every day. A little boy learns that it is acceptable to become selfish from looking at those who are considered to be successful. It is evident to him that the way that they became so successful was by grabbing and holding all that they can. He becomes violent because all of the heroes he sees promoted and portrayed on the silver screen or his flat screen are. He turns away from God because he’s told that real men are independent, they don’t need anything or anybody. After all, as one wrestler turned governor stated, “Christianity is a crutch for the weak.”
It begins in the earliest days of our lives in the scenes that we see, the stories that we hear. Evil is pictured as something beautiful, attractive, a thing to seek after. Those pictures are hung in the galleries of our hearts.
As a father of four young children, I’m trying to learn, reading all that I can, so that I can hang “right-eous” pictures in my children’s hearts. I realize that it is the pictures that they see from the inside of their eyes that will prompt the thoughts of their hearts. Thus, I don’t want to promote, paint with pretty colors, something that is not beautiful already in the hearts of my children.
The only picture beautiful in its essence, and worthy of hanging in the hearts of my little girl and boys is the picture of Jesus. That’s the picture I want to paint and hang in their hearts, during these formative years. To show that true heroism isn’t fighting, it’s surrendering. It’s not selfishness, but a selfless act for another. I don’t want to lift up King Arthur or Alexander or Napoleon or even a president. I want to lift up Jesus for my children to see early and clearly. I want the eyes of their hearts to click pictures of the greatest man who’s ever lived. To see the strength of gentleness; the victory of peacemaking; the manliness of compassion; the splendor of patience; the divinity of sacrifice.
I wish for them to see the majesty of the statement, “Himself He can not save;” the brilliance of “obedient unto death.” To realize that the most heroic act ever made was where Love Himself stood strong and silent to receive His mortal blow. Let their hearts be hung with pictures of the glory of Gethsemane, the glow of Golgotha, so that their first and foremost desire will be, “When I grow up, I want to be like Jesus!” In that day, the accuser, the father of lies, the tempter will be driven away, His Kingdom will come for the victory is already won because they have seen pictured in their souls the beauty of His holiness!