Faith, hope and mystery
by Frank King
Follow one person. And make Him real to everyone you know
It started with a tweet aimed at young people: “Follow your heart, not people”.
Most of us have seen this kind of message before. It’s vague, affirming and seemingly harmless. But when it popped up on my Twitter feed, enough alarm bells went off for me to respond
Me: Uh, what happens if my heart tells me to beat up someone? Or steal from them?
Original tweeter: You’re not a teen so don’t worry <with an eye-wink emoji>.
Jokes aside, let me point out some very, very extreme examples of people who followed their hearts, just to make the point with sledgehammer clarity: Osama Bin Laden, Adolf Hitler, Karla Homolka and Canadian serial killer Clifford Olson. All of them caused death, despair and broken lives.
Now think about the people in your life: who had a spouse cheat on them? Who lost money in an investment scam? Who was bullied into doing something that, in the end, did them harm?
In each case, someone followed their heart. The marriage broke up because the husband or wife’s heart told them to hook up with someone else. The investment scammer’s heart suggested getting rich at others’ expense is okay. And the bully’s heart said forcing others to go along with them is good.
Jeremiah 17:9 addresses the truth of the matter: “The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out.”
So what about the second part of the tweet, advising against following people? This is mostly true. Again, some extreme examples make this obvious: consider what happened to the followers of cult leaders Charles Manson, David Koresh and Jim Jones. Most either committed murder or killed themselves.
Thankfully, Christians know there is one person who can always be followed. And when people keep an eagle eye on Him – His life and teachings, His death and resurrection – they can never go wrong.
If we’re serious about following Jesus Christ, then we invite Him into our lives to make us more loving and generous, less interested in the distractions of our culture and more concerned about the eternal fate of friends and loved ones.
So don’t follow your heart. Follow one person. And make Him real to everyone you know.
Frank King’s views are his own and do not reflect on his role as manager of media relations for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada and Samaritan’s Purse Canada.