The Heart is not the Brain

No kidding!  If there was a competition between the heart and the brain for who could gather more information, which do you think would win?  I think the heart would win easily.  The heart is a gatherer.  It remembers things your brain has long forgotten.  Its nature is to gather information, classify it, and store it.  And it never forgets. 

Why do you dislike certain people, even before you hear them talk or know anything about them?  Why do you collect certain things?  Why do you open yourself to someone so easily when you know better?  All of these things are based on the categorizing and evaluating done in your heart.  Your brain has little to do with it.

Of course, I am not even trying to be anatomically or even psychologically correct here.  I am trying to tell you what you have already experienced and why.  You already know what I mean when I say that your heart is not your brain.  If it were, you would not have done some of the things you knew you shouldn’t do.  No, the heart is a different creature.

The heart is filled with fears, anxieties, successes, pride, shame—and all kinds of things it has picked up through your life.  I have written about the flesh in previous posts.  It seems to me that the heart is the place the flesh stores all its stuff.

Years ago, when you were a little baby, something happened that frightened you.  Your heart stored that event and all the little details.  Today, when something happens that connects to that event, you become afraid.  Your brain doesn’t have a clue what’s going on, but your heart knows.  In fact, it is hard work to convince yourself that you don’t have to feel that fear.  You believe it is irrational, abnormal.  People think you are being foolish.  You don’t want to be afraid, but it just happens. 

Then along comes someone or some teaching that uses that fear to manipulate you.  Maybe they cause the fear to rise so you will do something.  Maybe they offer hope that the fear will be conquered and you open yourself to them.  And they get you to make commitments and do things you would never do if you were thinking clearly. 

The heart can be manipulated.  It can be deceived.  It can be damaged by those who reach in and try to control it.  The heart is vulnerable. 

There is so much more to say, but I will just add two more points.  First, this is why you feel this combination of anger and grief and fear about some of the relationships in your life.  Your brain says you were stupid, that you knew better.  But the problem wasn’t in your brain.  The problem was in your heart.  Now that your brain is (sort of) aware of the situation, you will be more careful; but you don’t know if you can trust yourself.  Your feelings get mixed up because someone has messed with your heart and you don’t know what to do about it.

Second, there is more than hope.  There is victory.  “God is greater than our heart,” the Bible says.  In fact, there is an opportunity in Christ to look past the input of the flesh and the feelings of the heart to the truth about yourself and the world around you.


Filed under heart, Relationship

2 responses to “The Heart is not the Brain

  1. Jean

    I started reading your blog about a month ago. Your entries always speak to my heart, it is good news, truth that helps to set me free. This latest is no exception. We have been dealing with an abusive person and others who have seemingly misjudged the situation. In order to get completely away from this person, we would have to leave our church. We don’t want to, even though we tried it for a while. We go other places for fellowship, just to help us stay well and try to heal. There is no pastor right now and no way to reconcile, although we have tried many times. I am looking forward to the rest of what you have to say about our hearts. Right now I am working on forgiving this person and their enablers, protecting my heart, staying well, and asking God for His will and the power to carry that out. Thank you for all you do, it’s so refreshing to hear from someone who has a pastor’s heart.

    • Welcome, Jean! These things are so hard. Your church should be a place of comfort and peace and now it is a place of fear and strife for you. But why should you be the ones to leave? These people so often just push their wills on the rest of us. You might find that it only lasts as long as they think you might cave. Once they realize that you have every intention of holding your head high and not backing away, they may stop or turn their focus on someone else. I remember many years ago when it dawned on my chief opponent in my first church that I wasn’t going anywhere and he could not intimidate me into doing what he wanted. It broke his power in the church. He had become the church bully (one of them) and he stopped when it was obvious that I wasn’t giving in to him.

      We can’t always do this, of course, but sometimes these things just become a growling match. Just like with the dog next door, one way to win is to refuse to play.

      I would be interested in your thoughts on forgiveness, what you expect that you should do. Most of us were taught that we should forgive by just letting the offense go, shaking hands, and being friends afterward. It doesn’t work that way, does it? I have discovered that forgiveness in my heart is when I remember that forgiveness is really Jesus’ job. The offense is against Him and the forgiveness has to come from Him. If He forgives someone, then I do – because He is in me and I am in Him. In fact, I have already forgiven that person because He has. That may sound strange, but I believe it is the key to forgiveness. It isn’t about what you do. It is about what He does.

      Set your boundaries and remember that the cruelties of the others define them, not you. You are not less in any way because of this. If you did something wrong, you are forgiven and you move on. Never let your identity be defined by anyone less than Jesus Christ.

      Please keep me posted. I care and I am praying for you.

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