Yesterday while meditating  on Ist John 5 the word testimony kept popping in and out of my mind.  This word appears 8 times in verse 6-12.  In writing classes I’ve taken that would be considered overuse of one word, I imagine a professor or teacher would write in red ink – “Check your thesaurus for other words to use.”

 When I read the Bible I use a concordance instead.   I looked up Testimony and learned  the word evidence could be used  in place of testimony. Evidence is also translated as proof or conviction.   The reading mentions having a testimony in our hearts.  This can be translated to mean we have some kind of evidence, proof or conviction in our hearts. 

I don’t know about you, but when I meditate on the Scriptures I am often ‘convicted’ about something.  Something is set deep into my understanding and my heart is changed as a result.  When our hearts are changed our lives are too, I guess that would be proof of having something in our heart.

What evidence do we have in our hearts? What do we believe? Do we have hearts full of compassion, care, faith, love, kindness, goodness, all those ‘virtues’?  Or are our hearts full of malice, mistrust, doubt, selfish ambition? 

Why do we do the things we do and say the things we say?

We can say one thing with our mouths but the real evidence is in our hearts.  Somewhere it’s written that God judges us by the motivation of our hearts.  The truth is – we cannot always understand each others hearts – as much as we would like to.  Sometimes we misunderstand people and sometimes we’re misunderstood even by those we live with and love the most.  This happens because we are trying to communicate too quickly and cut each other off mid-stream.  We only have a short time and need to get our comments in.  We are so busy thinking about where we have to go and what we have to do that we don’t take the time to stay in the moment.  We want fast answers – no time to wait for the other to think about what they just heard. And we want to give fast answers because we just want to get on with it.  We have places to go, people to see, things to do, we have to get back to work or back to the program or whatever.  But what we really need to do is to get back to the basics of good communication and that takes time.

Heartfelt communication takes time, it can’t be rushed.  This is true in all our relationships.  It’s true for husbands and wives, parents and children, friendships, work relationships, recreational teams and volunteer relationships.  And it’s true of our relationship with God, if we don’t spend time reading, marking, studying and inwardly digesting His life-giving word, we are apt to misunderstand what He’s trying to communicate to us.

 We are a very active, mobile and fast paced society.  Our technological advances and communication systems have increased our ability to get information to people fast but fast doesn’t always reach the depth of our hearts.  And if it’s hard to see into the eyes of those who communicate from a distance, it’s harder still to recognize what is in their heart.  When a lawyer is building a case for something she or he takes time to gather the evidence and before a jury makes a verdict they take time to go over the evidence.  What evidence would others find in our hearts?  What evidence would we like them to find?

 There is only One who can see clearly into all our heart, all the time. He is slow to anger, slow to judge and quick to forgive and that is where the evidence resides.  This evidence was in the heart of Jesus when he spoke the words:  Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.

 We all do and say things that sometimes aren’t quite right and we get hurt or someone else gets hurt by something that is said or done.  But if we have forgiveness in our hearts, then we have evidence of God in Christ in our hearts. 

Talk about a day of conviction – it’s hard to keep a pure heart 24/7 – hard, but not impossible, just gotta stay in communication with the One whose heart is always pure!  Guess that’s why Jesus taught his disciples to pray – ‘Give us this day, our daily bread. ‘