I am sure you all know what internal dialogue is (some may call this an internal monologue, but for me it can often be a two sided affair). It is the running conversation that you have with yourself throughout the day. It is the way you interact with situations and information in your head. Often times, the internal dialogue has little visible bearing to other people, but it is always there. For those of you thinking that is just crazy, the thought that you had as you read the previous statements was your internal dialogue. Essentially, internal dialogue is the way we see the world. Throughout my day my internal dialogue can shift radically from inner grumblings over traffic, to my “to do” list at work, to thoughts about life and the world in general.
Proverbs 21:2 says, “All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the LORD weighs the heart” and that got me thinking about my internal dialogue. I have always kind of been under the assumption that my internal dialogue was just my own, it had little bearing on my life and work and how I was perceived… but then I thought about how Proverbs describes actions and the heart. In a lot of ways, I see the use of the word “heart” as a person’s internal dialogue. Many times, I feel as though my actions, or what everyone sees is pretty okay even if I am burning angry or really want to curse somebody out in traffic, but the fact is God is really interested in that internal dialogue.
A professor of mine at RTS once posed the question to student if he was a murderer? Of course this seemed like a very shocking and abrupt question for 8 AM on a Wednesday and if the desired effect was to get everyone to wake up… it worked. Now, if you know the story of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 then maybe you are a step ahead of where I was in the class. In it Jesus says, 21″You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother[b]will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ (an Aramaic term of contempt) is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”
So what? Is Jesus actually calling us all murderers? Maybe. But I think more important than that is the fact that our actions outside should reflect our thoughts and feelings inside. That is not to say we should act on every impulse… there are whole psychological and sociological movements based on that premise… but more to the point, our thoughts and feelings should be made held to our beliefs. If that is the case, then genuine Christian action will follow. The point Jesus and the writer of Proverbs is that God cares about our internal dialogue.
As a Christian my internal dialogue should be constantly running through a filter: the filter of Jesus Christ and His Word, and I would say that for the most part it does, but before I come off as being far holier than I am, I have to say that I do not always act in accord with my Christian filter, and sometimes I downright ignore it altogether. But the fact remains that the filter is there. The filter is the Holy Spirit, sometimes gently other times forcibly, pulling at me to think and act on the same principles I claim with my mouth.
My prayer for myself is that if someone looks into my heart at a given moment they will see my longing for Christ and his righteousness. Again, I am not perfect, but Jesus Christ is, and it is his love and mercy that I cling to.