The Heart of the Problem

When I was a boy, I sometimes helped my dad with building projects he was doing around our house. 

I especially remember watching Dad pick out lumber. We’d go out into the lumberyard, and my father would inspect each piece before we loaded it. He’d look down one edge, and then another, until he was convinced the board was straight. If a board was warped or crooked, he’d toss it to the side.

Sometimes, my father would reject a board that seemed perfect. One time when he did this, I looked down the edges of the board. All four looked completely straight.

“Dad, why aren’t we taking this one?” I asked.

My father said, “Don’t just look at the outside. Look at the end of the board.”

Dad explained to me that, when they process timber at the sawmill, they can take a crooked log, run it through a saw to square up one side, then lay it on a cradle again and cut off another side. After they are done, it appears straight on the outside.

“But, when you look on the end of the board,” dad said, “you’ll see that the heart is still crooked.”

The heart of the problem was a problem of the heart.

In the same way, no matter how much we may straighten up our own outside appearance and behavior, we cannot make our hearts “straight” before God.

God says:

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” (Jeremiah 17:9-10)

Our best efforts at religion, morality, and goodness will never correct the problem in our hearts.

He alone can search our hearts and make them right.

Have a great day, and keep moving forward!