“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” Prov. 4:23 (NIV). At first, this Scripture seems pretty self-explanatory until you start to dig deeper and realize that the “suggestion” from King Solomon was really not that at all. It was a warning, an admonition. Our hearts are the "wellspring of life," and you know what happens when a wellspring is contaminated by impurities: sickness, even death for those who depend on the wellspring for their sustenance. If you don’t guard the purity of your heart, you risk losing your life. With all the madness that is available to you today — on television, on the newsstand, on billboards, on the Internet — not guarding your heart can lead you horribly astray.
I have known this scripture for most of my adult life but it never came into focus until our children came along. Having a kid in the house — or in your car — suddenly makes you hypersensitive to everything. That guy is driving too fast. Those teenagers are cursing. That magazine in the store is disgusting. And when your new sensitivity alarm starts blaring, you are struck with the realization that somewhere along the way you stopped noticing all the inappropriate material in the world. You got used to it.
Have you ever driven into work and tuned in to Fluffy and Zippy and the Morning Zoo only to realize that all they’re doing is being horribly cynical, making fun of helpless people, talking about sex all morning and going right up to the edge of what the permissive FCC will allow? Have you also noticed that you brought a lot of that same cynicism into your workplace with you? Into your home?
There is a great line from The Untouchables movie when Elliot Ness realizes he has lost his pure heart in his quest to "nail" Gangster Al Capone. He says, “I have become what I beheld.”
Distracted by the prize of putting the legendary Capone behind bars, Ness uses tactics that he would never have considered before engaging Capone. He became that which he most despised, because he spent every waking hour (and many sleeping hours) gazing straight at it.
The danger we face by not “guarding our hearts” is that we can become what we behold.
Gossiperss and backstabbers get desensitized to a lot of pretty rotten stuff. They no longer realize the terrible harm they do.