Read Jeremiah 17:9-10
“The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful,
a puzzle that no one can figure out.
But I,GOD,search the heart
and examine the mind.
I get to the heart of the human.
I get to the root of things.
I treat them as they really are,
not as they pretend to be.” (THE MESSAGE)
There are two opposite and equal errors we fall into when we consider the state of the human heart. One is to see it as utterly corrupt and incapable of any good. A dark and gloomy picture of wickedness. We thus have a bleak view of ourselves and others. A bleak view of life.
The other opposite error is to see it as inherently good,just messed up a bit by social conditioning and our environment. Nothing much wrong with it that a bit of education and self-discipline couldn’t cure. So a rosy and optimistic view results.
The Bible knocks any such view on the head. As this text reminds us,having gone astray from God as human beings from the very beginning,we are deeply flawed. We are easily self-deceived. We cannot,in and of ourselves,please God.
And yet,this same text gives us a glimmer of hope. Our God doesn’t seem to give up on us. He gets to work on our hearts. He can change our hearts. He has no illusions about us. He knows we are damaged goods but he doesn’t throw us on the scrap heap but rather seeks to mend us.
Essentially,the Christian message is not simply about how bad we are but about how good God is. Our hearts may be dark,but the light of the world has come. And we trust that this light conquers darkness.