Thursday, July 10, 2014

Simple Hearted

The Lord protects the simple hearted.
Psalm 116:6 (NIV)

I read this verse a few weeks ago, and it has been on my mind.  What does it mean to be simple hearted?  I have thought myself to be simple minded at times, but am I simple hearted?  My first response was to look to other Bible translations for clarification.

King James:  The Lord preserveth the simple.
The Living Bible:  The Lord protects the simple and the childlike.
Good News Translation:  The Lord protects the helpless.
God's Word Translation:  The Lord protects defenseless people.
Holman Christian Standard:  The Lord guards the inexperienced.
The New Living Translation:  The Lord protects those of childlike faith.

"Simple" - lacking in knowledge; not hard to understand; not special or unusual.  I am definitely all of those things, but somehow I don't think that's the meaning the Psalmist is trying to convey.

"Helpless" or "defenseless" - I am often in over my head, or outnumbered, or caught off guard and find myself helpless and/or defenseless.  But those are circumstances.  I think being simple hearted is a deliberate choice of attitude.

"Inexperienced" - Well that can apply in so many areas!

"Childlike" - That's not the same as childish, right?  Childlike faith conjures pictures of innocence; accepting the care of the Heavenly Father in the same unquestioning way a child knows that his parents will provide for him.  But that is a child's character, not his choice. 

None of these words defined simple hearted for me, so next I went to Bible dictionaries and commentaries.  The best definition I found is: 

Simple hearted:  Free from deceit; sincere; not artificial; humble; honest.

That's better.  Those are concepts that fit with the Psalm and with my outlook.  A simple heart does not harbor deceit or schemes, but is openly and honestly devoted to God in all company.  Not just in church or with Christian friends,  but in ALL company.

I have written previously about my goals for the "second half" of life (on my 50th birthday, and on my 51st birthday). 

Live Simply - Weed out those possessions, relationships, commitments  and attitudes that cause stress or take more time to maintain than they are worth.  Live better with less.

Be Gracious - pleasantly kind, benevolent, courteous, merciful, compassionate - at all times.  

For my 54th year, I am adding another goal:

Be Simple Hearted