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September 15 – Check you heart (part 1)

“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offences.” – Proverbs 10:12

Scripture readings: Proverbs 10:12; Mark 7:20-23

Proverbs 10:12 contrasts two behaviours. Hatred drives the one. Love motivates the other. “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offences.” This verse is a diagnostic tool. It helps us to discern, based on symptoms, what is going on in the heart – yours or someone else’s.

This requires discernment. Sometimes a person who desires to address and resolve an issue is accused of picking a fight. He might be a biblical peacemaker whose end goal is peace. Those who accuse him might be “peace-fakers” who want to ignore the issue.

One who “stirs up strife” is different. He is driven not by a loving desire for peace, but by a fleshly desire to be right, to win a fight and to sit as judge with moral authority over others. He tells himself and others that he is fighting for truth, righteousness or reformed orthodoxy. A discerning observer will realize, however, that strife follows him wherever he goes.

We all do well to check our hearts when we find ourselves in conflict. Is our goal to glorify God and pursue peace? Or are we driven by a hateful need in the heart to win a fight, to be right or to lord it over others as their judge?

We do well to pray Psalm 139:23-24: “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”

Suggestions for prayer

Ask God to show you whether your heart in a conflict aims to pursue peace or stir up strife.
Pastor Richard Zekveld, his wife Nancy (nee Vandermeer), and their five children live in South Holland, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Richard has pastored Covenant Fellowship Church of South Holland (PCA) since 2015, he also works part-time in jail ministry as a chaplain for Chicagoland Prison Outreach. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at

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