We should clear our hearts before judging

Judy Brandon

I am somewhat “hooked” on the channel HGTV. I like to sit down and watch several of the shows. I like the shows about first time home buyers and House Hunters and House Hunters International. I also enjoy watching “Design on a Dime” as Candice Olson takes an outdated and cluttered living area and turns it into an impressive and comfortable space.

“Get it Sold” on HGTV focuses on the lives of people who cannot sell their homes. So an expert comes in to “stage” it to help them get their house sold. What the expert sees in the home is not obvious for the homeowner. The homeowner sees that fantastic burgundy chair in the living room as an essential home accent. The stager considers that dreadful burgundy chair tacky. The homeowner holds the hundreds of books stacked in disarray on the bookshelves essential. The stager considers those in need of sorting and some denoted to “Friends of the Library.” What the homeowner considers useful and vital, the stager says with passion “get rid of it!” While the home owner might think that the kids’ toys look just fine stuffed in the corner of the dining room, the stager clears the area out to make it another sitting area. Many times the suggestions of the stager get personal for homeowners.

One could say that the stager or expert gets to the heart of the matter by addressing the clutter to make the house sellable. One stager made the comment on the show: “I get to the heart of the matter … we have to do some cleaning.”

I will admit that that idea of clutter in the heart is quite different from clutter in a home. But it all has the same principle. Sometimes we are so close to something and so intent on keeping something that we do not see the deterioration of our hearts because of that very thing.

We may lament the world is in a terrible condition but think about this: It is much easier to hate the things like war that are going on in the world than to hate the things that clutter our own hearts.

Sometimes we make excuses and try to make bargains with God as to what should belong in our hearts and what should not. We all at times justify our sins and say things like “Well I hurt her feelings I know but I just told the truth.” Or “Maybe some people do consider this behavior wrong but no one but God knows what I live with at home.” These statements are just justifying the sin clutter in our lives, and we are only making excuses to keep and harbor and nurture those sins. The result is a cluttered heart, filled with all the attitudes and sins that will keep our heart and soul from drawing closer to God.

I can look around at the deceit and dishonesty in our society and talk about the wrongs. But first I must examine my own heart to make sure than none of those are present in thought and potential deed. I can lament the woes of the world and shake my head at the wretchedness of the times, but I first must look to my own heart and take stock of and declutter the sins and shortcomings that live deep within my heart and thus my mind. I must claim what the Psalmist wrote: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)

When it comes down to it, isn’t all trouble in the world a condition of the state of individual hearts?

Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at:

cbrandon@plateautel.net