Yesterday, instead of going to JazzFest as I had planned, I ended up home sick on the couch passing the time with a combination of naps and daytime TV. About 4 in the afternoon I came across Oprah’s interview with Rielle Hunter, the mistress of presidential candidate John Edwards. At one point in the interview Oprah asked Hunter if she thought that she had hurt Elizabeth Edwards by having this affair with her husband. The answer that she gave (which I will mostly paraphrase since I cannot locate the transcripts yet) seemed to beat around the bush a bit but finally landed on “I was following my heart.” Oprah then probed a bit further by saying something to the extent of “but what if following your heart was hurting someone else?” The next couple of minutes of the interview were an exercise in trying to find right and wrong in the murky waters of moral relativism.
This is where things got interesting because Rielle Hunter, in defending her actions, was no doubt using the very philosophical arguments that are so commonly propagated by folks like Oprah. Oprah was very much caught in a predicament at this point in the interview because as far as moral relativism goes Hunter was just doing what was true to her and what was in her heart. This was a rather awkward moment in the interview because Winfrey just didn’t have much else she could say though it was obvious that she believed that what Hunter did was wrong (at least on some level).
I am a big proponent of living from the heart. In my opinion folks like John Eldredge have been a huge blessing to the church as he has called folks to live from their hearts with books like Wild at Heart and Waking the Dead. This has been much needed because so many in our world simply live on auto-pilot with no sense of passion or desire in the way they live their everyday lives. However, following one’s heart, in and of itself, is not the answer. Living from one’s heart only works in the context of being submitted to God.
In my message last weekend at Northshore Vineyard entitled Ruined I shared how as a teenager I followed my heart. I wanted to be a musician and everything in my life conformed to that dream from how I spent my time and money to even the kind of car I drove. I put everything I had into that form of following my heart but it was selfish and self-absorbed at the core and ended up leading me to a place of depression, loneliness and despair. It was only when I surrendered to God that I could truly live from my heart in a way that was redemptive, in a way that freed me to live as God had intended.
What do you think?
- Have you ever experienced following your heart in a way that was simply making up your own truth as you went along? If so, how did that work for you?
- Where should living from the heart fit into the life of a Christ-follower?