“For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart…” (1John 3:20)
In the Bible heart often refers to our emotions. The Apostle John is using heart in that sense in I John 3:20. What he is essentially writing is that if the way we feel condemns us, God is greater than the way we feel.
Before John writes these words, he challenged his readers to love in actions and not merely in words. He follows his insight that God is greater than the way we feel with the prescription that we should keep the two great commandments of Jesus: to love God and to love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves. (Matthew 22: 35-40) Jesus claimed these two commandments would fulfill all the commandments in the Bible.
We are to love when we look up, when we look around, and when we look in. Jesus teaches that we are to love God completely, love others unconditionally, and love ourselves correctly. Loving ourselves does not mean when we pass a mirror we should stop and have our devotions. Jesus taught we should say the same thing about ourselves that God says about us – that God loves us.
The prescription for depression the Apostle of Love gives devout disciples is that when our heart condemns us, we should realize that our faith is not to be based on something as fickle as our feelings.
Our faith is based on the reality that we believe and apply the commandment to love.
The last thing we should do when our heart condemns us is isolate ourselves into a pity party. We need to get with people and love them.
Dick Woodward, 13 June 2011