I’m trying, after lots of travel, to get back on schedule of posting here (early) every Friday. Today’s message is closely related to, and ties together with, several past messages that I will provide links to.
One of my favorite legends from Spain is that of the motto of the city of Sevilla. I have discussed the origin of the motto and an 1862 medallion with NODO, then a 1775 and an 1874 medallion with both the NODO slogan and another – Give Light, Always Faithful, and a second chapter on the Give Light slogan and emotional vampires.
Above is the city flag, with the emblem of the motto. Briefly, the king Alfonso X was in a dispute with his son back in the 13th century, and he took refuge in the city of Sevilla. The city of Sevilla supported him, and the legend is that he gave Sevilla this motto in gratitude for their support. The image of what looks like an “8” is a madeja, a bundle of wool. So if you read the motto, it would be NO MADEJA DO, a phonetic way of saying NO ME HA DEJADO, which in English is THEY HAVE NOT LEFT ME, or THEY HAVE NOT ABANDONED ME.
I’ve been doing some more thinking on Let a Man Examine Himself. And I shared in my improvement on Mark Twain’s quote on the three kinds of lies that the worst damned lie is personal denial and self deception. I also shared that the most important part of the prodigal son stories is that self examination led to sight and hearing, recognition of the problem, as “he came to his senses.”
After I read Proverbs 28:13, He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy, I looked at the verse in Spanish. The word used for renounce is “deja,” from dejar. That is the same verb in the NODO motto NO ME HA DEJADO. And while Alfonso X was referring to the city of Sevilla not leaving or abandoning him, dejar is also the verb used to say a lover has left or forgotten their beloved.
Now the definition of sin is deliberate disobedience to the known will of God. And I know it is God’s will for me to make the most of my life, which I have said involves examining what is truly important to me – what I spend my time and my money on. And sharing Good Love and Better Love is also truly important to me. As I reflect on that, and Proverbs 28:13, I have to ask myself what do I want to leave, abandon, forget (dejar)? And the next thought that comes is in Spanish: “Quiero dejarlo, a….,” which is “I want to leave, abandon, forget ….” Thinking in both languages, I come up with my own motto with symbols, maybe for a future flag:
This set of symbols would become “key row D heart lo,” or “quiero dejarlo,” which again in English would be “I want to leave, abandon, forget (it).” And there are a couple more possible twists. We know that the heart is deceitful, so while it is part of indicating with the symbols in my motto that I want to leave something, the interpretation could easily be changed to say I want to love that same something. And that is how our heart is – even when we know with our mind we need to leave something, our deceitful heart often convinces us that we will be happier if we DON’T leave it, and we think we must follow our heart. Just as the heart is used on bumper stickers and t-shirts to say “I love something,” the verb dejar is actually used to mean “to permit” at times – to allow or to let do something. So again, my symbolic message could be interpreted as “I want to be allowed to do something” rather than “I want to abandon something.”
And that is exactly how (my) life is. I want to leave, abandon, and forget the external drama and turmoil that drives a wedge between me and those I have relationships with, including God. But my deceitful heart, with no conscious thought on my part, changes the message I act on and drives the wedge in anyway.
The answer is always the same – know our hearts are deceitful, be on guard to see and hear the truth, and come to our senses as often as needed, then act.