The Condition of the Human Heart, Part IV- He’s Tender Even When He’s Tough

Most of us don’t like to hear about ourselves from someone else, especially when it’s true- the uncomfortable criticism, the negative character flaws that people can see in us that we often choose to ignore.I remember a speech that I heard by Dana Perino, former Bush White House Press Secretary give in Washington, DC once. This line has never left me: “When someone points out something about yourself, don’t get angry or defensive. Listen. Be quiet and think over if what they are saying has any truth to it.” The same can be with our relationship to God. There are times when He’s trying to communicate with us through the Holy Spirit, to convict our hearts of sin, or of errors (some that we’re blind to), but we often don’t want to listen. The most preeminent spiritual condition of man is blindness. Paul points out in 1 Corinthians 2:14 that spiritual things can only be discerned by spiritually hearted people. “There must come a time when you give God permission to say whatever He wants to say to you.” – Ron Kelly

In wrapping up this 4 part series on the human heart: 1) feeling offended, 2) being picky about someone’s attraction, and 3) gossip- I want to end it by talking about the only one who can get the human heart to a standard where it’s the best that it can be on this earth. And that’s Jesus.

The meek inherit the earth and God opposes the proud. –Lecrae

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that this world is broken. And that we humans can be savage and are capable of causing so much harm and pain toward one another. If one doesn’t think that there is a devil spirit causing havoc, disunity, and pain on this earth then I’m not sure where you’ve been. I don’t want to get into a long discourse about the fall of man that led to free will that led to a dire need of a Savior, Christ Jesus to come into the world to turn right-side-up what Adam turned up-side-down. But it is simply that, we need a Savior who came and saved us from the negative condition of our hearts. Then we were gifted with the Holy Spirit to convict us of the negative condition of our hearts. The human heart is deceitfully wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). And Christians are not exempt. We’re broken too and have our fair share of problems. But, the difference is that if we’re really in Christ, and have submitted our hearts to Him, then we allow God to convict us of our sin and we repent. I like the way that Pastor Ron Kelly sums it up:

For anyone, if they do not have a love for Jesus- if their hearts aren’t anchored in Christ their love for others will run into their own carnality, their own spirit of self. And when those two come up against each other you need Jesus to say ‘come on, I’m going to lead you over this mountain. You can rise up above yourself.’ Without Jesus as a guide, many people don’t look at their hearts and address the problem. They evade and they don’t want to change.

In those moments when God is poking at our hearts and we’re in a state of deep frustration, where our hearts are tight and we’re wrestling with ourselves, wondering why we don’t have peace- that’s often God. In those moments He’s talking to us, wanting us to surrender our sin. The thing about Jesus is that He’s tender, even when He’s tough. God can’t work with a contrite heart. And there are times when God is poking me in the heart, asking me to surrender something that I’m willfully aware of (sometimes blindly unaware of), and I have to go to Him and simply surrender and repent.

For all of us humans (Christian or NonChristian), we can only carry but so many burdens, and when we engage in things that will cause emotional, mental, or physical burdens, it’s not God who brought them. It’s we that often create our own burdens from bad decision-making. But, Jesus in His tender ways is compassionate. In His presence we find forgiveness, no condemnation, and the strength to repent and live anew. Just look at the Samaritan woman at the well, in John 4, who had 5 husbands and was living in sexual immorality with a man that was not her husband. Jesus’ tone to her was loving and tender. And though He despised her sin, He spoke to her in such a way, with love and no condemnation, so that if she took the first step of repentance (which she did) He caught her, forgave her, and offered her a new life. You see, He’s tender, even when He’s tough.

Happy Friday xx!