You Have A Hard Heart?
This question, dear reader, may shock
or surprise you, but it is the
ultimate question concerning human nature!
By that I mean that we all tend to
compare ourselves with other people,
and to judge others as they compare to us. And we also tend to
judge ourselves by our comparison with other people.
As a result we put ourselves and
others in 'pigeon holes' or
compartments in our minds and hearts, and those compartments tend to
cut off the love, affection, respect and kindness which we should all
have toward one another.
For example, Adolph Hitler apparently
considered himself to be far
superior to everyone else, and thus able to rule the world. He
also considered the Jewish people and many millions of other people
groups as far inferior to himself and the so-called Aryan Race,
resulting in the attempted extermination of millions of people during
World War II. Likewise, the Japanese rulers and the Italian
rulers held similar attitudes towards others, and as they hardened
their hearts towards 'the inferior people of the world', they committed
dastardly deeds. But even though their hearts were hardened
toward many others, toward those people whom they considered to be
like-minded or relatively equal they were relatively kind and
considerate and even 'loving' - or at least affectionate! Adolph
Hitler had a girlfriend and a dog!
WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN?
In my opinion, dear reader, for what
it's worth, the cause of hardness
of heart begins with a subtle lie. The truth is, as set forth in
the American document called the "Declaration of Independence", is that
"all men are created equal". The lie is always this: "You
are more or less equal than others." Usually the lie is that you
are better than others. Sometimes the lie is that you are worse
then others, and will never measure up to them. The result is
that we either consider ourselves to be better than others, or we
consider ourselves to be worse than others.
I also believe that we are all
created by a loving heavenly Father to
be His beloved children, knowing Him and loving Him, and allowing Him
to live and rule in our lives. But part of His love for us is the
freedom which He gives us to go astray from Him after our own ways, and
to reap the consequences of our waywardness in the hope that we will
eventually come to our senses, decide that it is better for us to be
with Father than to be away from Him and the captain of our own
fate! If we do
have this monumental change of heart we find that He gladly welcomes us
back into His fold, and we are restored to knowing Him and living in
His household under His rule of conduct.
You may wonder what the rule of
conduct is in God's house. It,
simply is this: The Royal Law of Love! We are to love God
with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love our
neighbors as ourselves. And God, incredibly, supplies all the
love that we need to satisfy His one rule of conduct!! It is a
On the other hand, when we go astray
from God, we lose contact with the
one source of love, and we tend to try to make up for our monumental
loss with our own cheap imitation of love. It is called lust or
jealousy or pride or selfishness.
I was once asked why alcoholics drink
and drive and endanger themselves
and everyone else when they drive drunk. My answer, which I had
never thought about before, was that maybe 10% of alcoholics drink out
of pride, but the other 90% drink to medicate a damaged heart.
The guy who asked me the question replied that my explanation made
sense, but then he asked why people don't just drink at home and save
everyone the danger of their driving home from a bar or other drinking
establishment. Again my answer, which I had never thought about
before was this: One of the deepest pains that people suffer is
the pain of loneliness! So they get together with the other
lonely people, medicate their hurting hearts, and endanger everyone
when they drive home again. My friend said that my explanation
made sense, and he left. I then realized that about a dozen
college students had gathered around us to listen to our
conversation! Maybe they needed to hear what we said. hmmm
WHAT IS THE REMEDY?
With these things in mind, what then
is the remedy for our hardness of
heart? Fortunately, I have GOOD NEWS! God foresaw our
hopeless condition of heart-woundedness, and loved us to much that He
sent His only begotten Son to establish the New Arrangement He wants to
make with mankind. The following is His expression of this New
Arrangement which His Spirit inspired a prophet of old to write about
36:23-30 And I will
consecrate my great name, which was profaned among the nations and
which you have profaned in the midst of them, and the nations will know
that I am Yahweh!"' a declaration of the Lord Yahweh, when I show
myself holy before their eyes. "'And I will take you from the
and I will gather you from all of the lands, and I will bring you to
your land. And I will sprinkle
on you pure water, and you will be clean from all of your uncleanness,
and I will cleanse you from all of your idols. And
I will give a new heart to you, and a new spirit I will give into your
inner parts, and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh, and
I will give to you a heart of flesh. And I will give my spirit
into your inner
parts, and I will make it so that you will go in my rules, and my
regulations you will remember, and you will do them. And you will dwell
in the land that I gave
to your ancestors, and you will be to me as a people, and I will be to
you as God. And I will save
you from all of your uncleanness, and I will call to the grain, and I
will cause it to increase, and I will not bring famine upon you. And I
will cause the fruit of the tree and
the crop of the field to increase, so that you will not suffer again
the disgrace of famine among the nations.
The story behind this passage
is that God had given His Law to
the people of Israel centuries beforehand, but they had not kept His
law because they lacked the Love of God to fulfill His Royal Law of
Love. They considered themselves to be better than the rest, and
they looked down on 'the nations' instead of passing on God's mercy and
grace as they should have. They suffered the consequences, and
the other nations of
creation did not see the Royal Law of Love in action, which would have
brought them also in change of heart back to God and His ways.
How, then, does
one get a new heart? By bowing your knees in unconditional
surrender to God, by asking God's Son, Jesus Christ, to come
into your heart to save you from your sins and to be your source
the New Life which God wants all people to enjoy. Is that GOOD
NEWS, or what? For a fresh example of how that works, I refer you
to my recent experience at This page called
A buddy of mine has a favorite
saying: "We don't know what we
don't know." We think that we are doing well, and we don't
realize that we could be doing much better!!! The remedy for this
enigma, which I have found to be
very effective when done sincerely, is to ask God what
we are missing.
I have been amazed and surprised and humbled by the answers to this
prayer which I have received over the years. The first answer I
received to that question was, "humility"!
Another question which I have learned
to be of great value is
this: "Lord, are You trying to tell me something about me?"
This question arises from what Jesus taught about not judging:
"Do not judge, so that
you will not be judged. For by what judgment you judge, you will be
judged, and by what measure you measure out, it will be measured out to
And why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not
notice the beam of wood in your own eye? Or how will you say to your
brother, 'Allow me to remove the speck from your eye,' and behold, the
beam of wood is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the beam of
wood from your own eye and then you will see clearly to remove the
speck from your brother's eye!
It seems to me that we all have
'beams' in our eyes which prevent us
from seeing clearly and being helpful to others. But when we get
the 'beams' out of our own eyes we really do see clearly to be humbly
helpful to others.
I hope that you, dear reader, will
ask God this vastly important
questions honestly: "God,
what am I missing?" and "Are You trying
to tell me
something about me?"
Please let me
know what happens!