New hearts. No waiting.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? – Jeremiah 17:9

Is there any doubt after seeing all these videos of rioting, looting, and violent destruction that the heart is desperately sick?

Ever since this unrest began with the death of George Floyd at the knee of an overzealous and brutal police officer, my feelings have alternated between anger at the violent protesters and grief for the sinful state of the human heart. It was a sick and wicked heart that caused Floyd’s death, and hearts no less wickedly sick that are causing all this damage and unrest.

It’s this kind of sickness, over and above that caused by any virus, that we should be most focused on right now. Those who have it are those who reject or ignore God and go their own way and do their own thing. The prophet Jeremiah describes this as sin indelibly tattooed on their hearts “with a pen of iron.” And “…with a point of diamond it is engraved on the tablet of their heart.”

Thus says the Lord
Jeremiah warns that God says such a man or woman is “cursed” and “shall not see any good come.” The violent, looting vandal may think he acquired or achieved something good but if he is cut off from God “He is like a shrub in the desert…in an uninhabited salt land.” Dry…unfruitful…and thirsty.

Do these thugs think taking or destroying someone else’s property is somehow righting “wealth inequality”? Jeremiah calls them fools.

Like the partridge that gathers a brood that she did not hatch, so is he who gets riches but not by justice; in the midst of his days they will leave him, and at his end he will be a fool. – Jeremiah 17:11

Written in the dust
You know that story told in John 8 about the woman caught in adultery? Remember how when the Pharisees asked Jesus what he thought they should do with her Jesus “bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground” before answering them? It’s not clear from John why he did that, but I believe Jesus was giving the Pharisees a visual depiction of Jeremiah 17:13.

O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who forsake you shall be put to shame; those who turn away from you shall be written in the earth, for they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living water.

The self-righteous Pharisees had forsaken God, though thinking themselves the most virtuous of all. Those today creating unrest and causing destruction supposedly to right a wrong, as well as those who are championing them, demonstrate that they also have forsaken him and their “virtue” is as dust. They have forsaken the source of life and they are parched and withered fools.

Forgiveness is available
But any and every fool, if he will confess his foolish and wicked ways and turn to God, will find forgiveness and life. Jesus did not excuse the woman’s sin of adultery but he offered her forgiveness. And he offers it to all who believe and trust in him.

There is no vaccine, no therapeutic, no cure for a deceitfully sick heart. A full transplant is required. And there’s no waiting list.

I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. – Jeremiah 32:39

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. – Ezekiel 36:25-26