Lately I’ve been dealing with a person who has a hard heart. No matter how many bad things happen to him, he won’t turn from the destructive path he’s on.
There are days when he has said, “I’m desperate; I need God,” but what he means is “I need God to do what I want Him to do—get me out of these messes.” He’s blind to the fact that “these messes” are a direct result of his bad choices.
Not long ago I heard a speaker at the Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center in St. Petersburg. ARC is a six-month residential substance abuse program which houses up to 104 men at no cost to them. These men receive group therapy, guidance and spiritual counseling in a “work therapy” type setting.
As I sat there with the men from this program, I celebrated that most seemed to listen intently to the guest speaker. I felt encouraged that so many by deciding to be in the ARC had turned from the path that leads to destruction and put themselves in a place where they could allow God to soften their hearts.
How I longed for the man I knew to be in that chapel—to be listening to truth, to be in a place where his heart could be softened. I had repeatedly tried to speak truth to him, but he wouldn’t listen. Instead he spouted words of prideful self-pity which translated to, “I don’t deserve this,” when he should have been saying, “God, have mercy on my soul.”
I’m learning that having a hard heart has to do with refusing to listen—to God, to His Word, to His wisdom. Hebrews 3:7-8 comes to mind:
Today, if you hear his voice,do not harden your hearts…NIV 1984
A hard heart says, “I want my way.” And if the hard heart brings God into the picture it is to demand, “God, do what I say.”
A softened heart says, “God, what do You say? Show me Your way.”
The challenge I have is to avoid developing a hardened heart toward those who have hardened their hearts toward God. I need to keep saying to the Lord about this lost soul, “God, what do You say? Show me Your way.”
It’s imperative I continue to believe that God is able to soften hearts in His way and in His time.
I said to this wayward soul one day, “The night you made that very bad decision, God was speaking to you to make another choice. Sadly, you didn’t hear Him. I’m praying one day you will.” Then I presented to him a choice that could lead him away from his ungodly lifestyle. He chose to reject doing the right thing.
I’m praying one day he will make the right choice and turn around to receive Jesus as Savior and embrace the path of becoming all God created him to be.
How about you? Do you have family members and loved ones who have hardened their hearts against God? Will you join me in praying for them and asking God to keep our hearts softened toward them?
To hear more about “Hardened Hearts” listen to my radio show, “Hearts Set Free with Elaine” on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 8:00am EST. Go to www.wtis1110.com and press “Listen Live.”
You can also go to the archives and listen to past shows. Go to www.wtis1110.com. Press “shows,” scroll down to “Hearts Set Free,” and click on it. Go to the bottom right of the page and click on the archived show you want to listen to.