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Posts Tagged ‘sensitivity’

Photo of Beersheba by Leon Mauldin

Photo of Beersheba by Leon Mauldin

The making of oaths and treaties in ancient times was far more serious than it is today. When anyone swore an oath and broke it, the penalty was severe, even death. I cannot help but wonder how different our world would be if promises and vows had more significance. Not unlike Bonhoeffer’s “cheap grace,” we now have vows made with fingers crossed behind our backs.

Genesis 21:30-31
He replied, “Accept these seven lambs from my hand as a witness that I dug this well.” So that place was called Beersheba,because the two men swore an oath there.

Lack of trust is at pandemic proportions, the real core to our inability to make a vow or promise and keep it. We have all been betrayed so many times, we do not believe the word of others. Either we need lots of evidence or the cost for breaking trust must be so high that everyone is put in a fear position to uphold the agreement (hence, the Cold War).

Of course, those fear-based promises usually have loopholes and everyone is busy trying to find them.

Marriages have become the thing of mistrust and loopholes as well. I find it amusing, the angst over same-sex unions, while cheating, divorce, and secret lusts rage in society. How often are the ones who rail against the sins of others, forget their own?

A covenant is a binding oath, a promise that cannot be broken. An agreement with God, the acceptance of Christ as the Messiah, is on that level.

I forget this sometimes. I dishonor the agreement. I don’t hold up my end of the bargain, the treaty, the contract. In a secular world, if I broke a contract the number of times I have broken covenant with the Christ, I would be sued or forced to pay large sums of money or put in jail. But my contract, thanks be to God, is with Grace. And I get more chances to make it right.

I give “lip service” to my trust in God, but I’m afraid I don’t build my foundation on it. I am swayed and battered by the storms of life and I lose sight of trust I promised to have in God. I know intellectually that God is faithful and trustworthy, but still I stumble.

Sensitize me to Your Presence today Lord and give me courage to speak trust in the face of all circumstances. Help me build a Beersheba today, to remember my promise.

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The hardening of the heart is a spiritual condition. In our culture, we think of it as someone who is cruel and unfeeling. While in scripture, the hard heart can still feel but only through the body, hence, the tendency toward violence and pain or sensuality and lasciviousness. It is the spirit encased in stone.

Ephesians 4:18-19a
They [unbelievers] are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality . . .

For teenagers, we see hardened hearts manifesting in eating disorders, cutting, and other abusive behavior because they are trying to “feel” something. When and how did their spirits lose touch with God? Youngsters usually experience a sense of God through the parents first. If they are absent, uninterested, or hardened themselves, the foundation is laid for walls of protection to rise. Our culture is another layer of bricks and stones in this process: the constant exposure to violent stories, abuse, horror, and the “objectivity” of women and men through pornography. Loss, grief, and disappointment are additional bricks. Unrelenting poverty, hunger, and deprivation can also build layers of stone, particularly in our culture where privilege, comfort, and luxury are dangled before us every day.

There is no human remedy for a hard heart. I know, because I have been there. Isolated as an immigrant family, the death of my father at an early age, a working mother who was mentally unstable, the ingredients were all there for steeling the heart. I hurt a lot, I cried a lot, I defied authority, I self-medicated, I lied, I cheated, I dabbled in the occult: all of it in the name of searching for something I did not understand.

Only God and the Spirit of Christ within can break through the hardened layers of the heart. It is a process and not a singular event. Becoming a follower of Jesus is only a starting point. At my decision, I was able to shut down some of the 3-D sensations and realize there was another way to reach Spirit.

Sensitivity to the Spirit of God is sweet and as the heart melts in God’s Presence, other “feelings” are not as powerful, there is less striving. This is the journey of peace.

A Christian can go through all the motions of being a Christian and still have a hard heart. I did that too.

It is the best work of the Holy Spirit and I am reminded this day to invite the Counselor within, to keep my heart sensitized and soft and tender towards God. Love comes from a tender heart.

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