Since my children were born, there has been a list of things I have prayed for them.
To be protected.
To know how special they are and how very much they are loved.
To find good friends who will stand by them.
To have their hearts and minds guarded from the things of this world.
To speak life into others. And to do the right thing, even when it’s hard.
But most of all, after coming to know Jesus as their Savior, I have prayed that they would see people the way the Lord does and love them as He would. The longing of my heart is that they would look not at the outside, but at the inside, and see that beautiful hearts are what count most.
A God Idea
In October 2016, the Lord placed it on my heart to share this message with others through a children’s book called Bumper. Now here we are two years later, and this little story has become a reality! Based on 1 Samuel 16:7, which says that “man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart,” Bumper, a frog, and his best friend Hazel, a toad, set out to show others that there is more to friendship than meets the eye.
In a world where outer beauty rules, it is easy to make quick judgments about others simply by how they look.
Fancy car, fancy house, brand new clothes, and a nanny in tow: she must be a spoiled, uptight snob. Old beat up car, mobile home, 5-year-old clothes, and a line of dirty children in tow: she must be lazy and beneath me. Different skin color, different economic status, different language…we make assumptions every day.
And y’all, if that is the model we give our children, what will they do?
They will do what we do. And the divisions in our schools and towns will continue to get worse. But ladies, if we choose to take the time to look past the exterior, we might just find the blessing of a friendship we might have otherwise missed. And we have the amazing privilege of teaching a new generation to follow our lead.
I have had the joy of sharing Bumper with different groups of children recently, and when I ask them to look at the heart of the person next to them…they look at me like I might just be a little off my rocker!
Because really, how do you look at a heart???
The Bible shares in numerous places that the Lord looks at our heart, examines our heart and is greater than our hearts. And I believe He gives us three ways that we can “see” a heart and help our children to also:
1. We listen to the words people speak.
Luke 6:45 says that “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.”
Do you hear kind words being spoken? Words that uplift and encourage? Or words that belittle and tear down in gossip? The things and people we listen to, watch, and spend time with will infiltrate our hearts. There is no doubt that the things we see and hear will be stored, waiting to come out at the first opportunity. And the words of others give us an open window into their own hearts. Don’t just listen, but truly hear what people are saying.
2. We watch the things they do.
When asked in Mark 12:30-31 what the greatest commandments were, Jesus said to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
How do you see people spend their time and money? Is it all on themselves? Do they give to others generously, expecting nothing in return? Or do they want to gain recognition and praise for their actions? Do they interact with “people of low position” (Rom.12:16) or are they conceited? Do they treat others as they want to be treated? Don’t just watch, but truly see what people are doing.
3. We wait to see how they respond when they mess up.
Oh, y’all. We listen to the words and we watch the actions, but nobody has it together all the time. We are all sinners in need of a Savior, and we will mess up! We will say something we shouldn’t. We will do something we shouldn’t. But the question is…what will we do to make it right? Don’t stop listening and watching right away. Wait to see what happens…
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
Will the person apologize and ask for forgiveness? Will they correct the wrong? Or will they keep on with life with no regret? You will see the heart. You will.
One of the age-old songs reads, “Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world…” and we should too. Look past the things of this world y’all…it is very temporary. Put your eyes on the things of eternity and help others to do the same. Be kind. Love others. And create a circle of friends that would make jaws drop! We are all so much more than meets the eye…
How You Can Help
I am so thankful the Lord has opened the door for me to share Him and His heart for others through this sweet story. If you have a group of moms, school, or other organization who want to help others see the heart as well, I would love to share more! You can email me at [email protected] or message me on Facebook.
Get the family history of how Bumper came to be here.
May we all choose to see that beautiful hearts are what counts most!
Maggie Meadows Cooper
Maggie Meadows Cooper is a wife, mother, educator, and blogger with a longing for women to grow a heart for Jesus and others. She is the author of the children’s book Bumper, helping others to see that the heart is what counts most. She blogs at The Little Moments and contributes to IBelieve Truth: A Devotional for Women, Devotional Diva, and the Connecting Ministries Blog. ! She lives with her husband, three children, and two rambunctious dogs in Opelika, Alabama.