The problem of “a good heart”

Saul’s excuse to Samuel in 1 Samuel 15 was, “But I have a good heart.” He claimed his devotion to God was what excused his disobedience to his calling. Having “a good heart” is one of the chief ways we excuse our own and other people’s deep dysfunction. It’s the co-dependent mantra.
Claiming “a good heart” as a reason to keep someone around keeps abusers abusing and it keeps the abused excusing.
It’s not just a distracting excuse, it’s also not even true. Someone with a good heart is passionate about others and fulfills their obligations, showing their heart by what they do. They empower others, free others, not demand and constrict others for their own gain.
If they cause hurt, diminish others, always need excuses for not doing what they should, they don’t have good heart. They need healing and they need to removed from places of responsibility.
God doesn’t, as Samuel reminds us, want sacrifice. God seeks obedience, because the way of obedience is a way of transformation. Saul claimed a good heart, but he was disobedient to what he was called to do, leaving chaos all around, and God said to him, “No more.”
Heaven save me from just having a good heart. I want to be someone who loves and shares and gives in ways that empower the people around me.  I want to be obedient to what I’m called to do, in the big things and in the daily, little things that are really what shows what kind of heart I actually have .
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