We pick a person’s brain to gather knowledge, like picking fruit from a tree or using a pick axe to dig deeper for hidden gold nuggets. It’s helpful to learn others’ thoughts and ideas because their experiences have been different than ours. Their knowledge and perspective may help us better understand a problem or answer a question we’re wrestling with. Picking a person’s brain allows us to discover what they know and it may give a bit of insight into who they are, but to really know them we must pick their heart.
Picking a person’s heart goes beyond gathering facts. It means when they’re speaking we watch their expressions for signs of joy, sadness or pain. We listen to the tone of their voice to notice if it trembles from fear, is clear and direct from focus on a deeply held belief, or bubbles with excitement. We ask questions because we care about the answers. We want to understand their concerns and joys, and share in them. We watch and listen closely to learn what makes them feel loved and to become aware of how they show their love for us.
Relationships grow strong when we reach that level – with our wives or husbands, our family, our Christian brothers and sisters, and others in our life.
In Philippians 3:10 (NIV), the Apostle Paul wrote, “I want to know Christ.” If we have the same desire, we will spend time picking Christ’s heart. We do that by studying the Bible. As we go deeper, more of our questions will be answered and we will better understand Him. We will know that Jesus has clearly shown His love for us by dying on the cross and read that He has told us how to show our love for Him:
“Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.‘” Matthew 25:37-40 ESV
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15 ESV
These two passages point out that we have another responsibility in the process. Once we have picked someone’s heart, we must act on what we have learned for it to truly matter.