Banned Phrase: Follow Your Heart

As we were on vacation this last week, my youngest daughter said “I hate that phrase ‘follow your heart’! It’s so crazy! Your heart is just a thing in your chest!”

I told her she’s right on the money in terms of it being bad advice. And that actually God would agree with her (on the “what” of the statement – not necessarily the “why”).

We hear this all the time and it sounds so sweet, so wise, so sentimental: “follow your heart.”

By that we mean “follow that inside voice or passion that longs for something, that draws you  like a moth to a flame to something.”

It’s most often used in reference to love. Everyone else is saying “that guy or gal is bad news!” But we know better than everybody and we don’t want to give up on that guy or gal, even if they are in prison for 5 to 10. So some well meaning shallow thinker (WMST) comes along and with a doe eyed gaze and a soft voice says “follow your heart.” Most ridiculous example lately? Twilight. Read my post about it here.

What “follow your heart” really means is “toss all reason aside, be stupid, ignore all the folks who have loved you, cared for you and sacrificed for you all of your life and DO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO!”

Took this photo of Grim Death at
midnight in graveyard in Colorado.

And of course we latch onto that advice like grim death (see inset), because we all want to do what we want to do.


Good syrupy – with
which God is well

 What Does God Say?

That sappy, sugary, syrupy, overused Hallmark admonition is about 180 degrees out of phase with God’s thoughts on the heart.

God says this about our hearts in Jeremiah 17:9 (I like the KJV here):

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? 

Let’s just think about that for minute. Shouldn’t take long. We have years of history to reference in regards to this verse.

First Part: The heart is deceitful. True or false?  Well true. Just listen to your heart for a few minutes. My heart tells me all kinds of crazy things. Selfish lies like “I’m always right, everyone else is always wrong. It’s never my fault. It’s always someone else’s. I deserve the best now.”

Great example – you don’t have to “teach” a kid to do wrong. They come by it naturally. There are no books titled “Raising a Corrupt Kid”. Don’t get me wrong – they can learn along the way how to do more wrong, but innate in the heart of every child is a propensity to do wrong. The job of the parent is to teach a child to do right.

Don’t believe me? See if these Toddler Property Laws (author unknown) don’t ring true:

1. If I like it, it’s mine (true story-at 5, neighbor girl tried to pull our cat through the chain link fence by it’s tail saying “its mine, its mine” Cat did not go through).
2. If it’s in my hand, it’s mine.
3. If I can take it from you, it’s mine.
4. If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine.
5. If it’s mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.
6. If I’m doing or building something, all the pieces are mine.
7. If it looks just like mine, it is mine.
8. If I saw it first, it’s mine.
9. If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine.
10. If it’s broken, it’s yours

We have thousands of years of history that tell us the heart is deceitful. Wars and laws and laws broken are the every day evidence of deceitful hearts.

The heart also tells me dangerous lies.
Lies like: “you’re too far gone. God can’t stand you. Just look at yourself! You’re too fat, too old, too lazy, too stupid, too useless, too ridiculous, too (fill in the blank) for God to use or love! You’re tired of you, imagine how He feels! Jesus died for everyone…but you. No one is as bad as you. There’s no forgiveness for you.”

My heart tells me great big fat fibs all the time. The truth is found in God’s Word.

Second Part: The heart is desperately wicked.  True! I know my heart. My heart wants what it wants regardless of the moral content of any action. God’s grace allows me to say “no”, but the natural inclination is to say “yes” to the wrong thing.

Not sure about that? Just look at history. Hitler followed his heart. His heart hated the Jews. Stalin followed his heart. His heart loved power. The Boston bomber followed his heart. His heart hated anyone not Muslim. Rolling Stone magazine editors followed their hearts. Their hearts loved (guessing the motive for their callous stupidity here) money from notoriety.

But those are big time aberrations, right? Wrong. There is a reason we have those things called “laws.” We have laws, because the natural inclination of the human heart is toward wrong. Without moral guard rails, every man and every woman will follow their hearts right off a cliff.

The natural inclination of the heart is toward destruction. Paul, while awaiting execution, wrote of the common end of  “following your heart”: This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy. 2 Timothy 3:1-2 

You could summarize that passage this way: People will follow their hearts. Or if you want to get all Biblical on me, you could quote Judges 17:6 Everyone did what was right in their own eyes.

So the phrase “follow your heart” is banned for all time. I’m sure everyone, everywhere will follow my decree.

But even if they don’t, I’d encourage you to replace that phrase with a better, simple one: Follow Jesus.

God Speed,

Pastor David

Every time you subscribe, post, tweet or share this on Facebook, an angel gets its wings. Or a buzzard. Haven’t checked lately.

PS: Grammar checking may be off this week. My apologies.

2 thoughts on “Banned Phrase: Follow Your Heart

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