This is Part 2 of 5 parts looking at the “Heart of the issue in relating to people.”
Seek the Heart Change in All Areas of Life
How do you discern when to reach the heart or just impose behavioral change? How you discern the difference in a family, or at a business with employees, or even at church? Additionally, when is something a business and when is it a ministry?
Is a family a ministry? That is pretty easy – it’s a ministry. But what about going to a bank? Is that a business or a ministry? And how do you know how to relate to the bank tellers for example? That might seem obvious. You might relate to him as a business, especially if you are in a hurry and he’s very slow, by letting him know how much you are bothered by his inefficiency. Or do you handle it like a ministry and try to reach his heart, because if you treat it like a business, do you lose opportunities to reach his heart for the gospel and possibly even enter into a discipleship relationship with him? When do you show mercy and when do you show judgment? There are a multitude of areas of life to consider with these questions and much to discern before the Lord by faith.
God sought Jonah’s Heart
We recently studied Jonah. He was a prophet who clearly heard the word of God, but disobeyed. God told him to go to Nineveh and tell them their wickedness had come up against Him (Jon. 1:2). But Jonah despised the Ninevites! He hated them for their military pursuits. He hated them for their cultural differences and language. He wanted nothing to do with them! They deserved judgment! So Jonah ran the opposite direction and boarded the boat to Tarshish.
But God was not just interested in a behavioral change; He sought a heart change. Instead of smashing Jonah’s rebellion, instead of throwing him under the boat and letting him drown, God sent the USS Great Fish to pick up Jonah and escort him all the way to Nineveh. Now of course, Jonah’s appearance was bleached from the gastric juices of the fish and that caught the Ninevites’ attention when Jonah pronounced the impending judgment! Yes, God helped the behavioral change, but He was trying to reach Jonah’s heart without crushing Jonah.
Part 3 will be posted tomorrow.