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Posts Tagged ‘violence’

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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