Are you stronghearted?

ARE YOU a spiritual pessimist or realist?

I don’t know about you, but sometimes the pain I see around me is nearly too much to handle. On the bus, train or in the street… I see it everywhere.

Multitudes suffering.

Do I exaggerate? I think not.

People are hurting. Everywhere. They’re sad or sinning. They’ve been betrayed and mistreated. Cheated. Lost.

When you see the hurt, what are your options?

  1. Escape

  2. Harden your heart

  3. Take the pain

  4. ???

Escape might be the most common reaction. We ignore or try to kill the pain. Still, once a pain killer wears off, it hurts just as bad. Or worse.

And how many hearts have been hardened due to the pain the world shows us day after day? The hard heart feels nothing. Everything just bounces off. A hard heart is a dead heart. Love can’t get in or come out.

These are understandable reactions. Otherwise, you might go crazy or fall into depression.

Most of us take the pain, at least partially. We live with it. We deal with it.

BUT, there’s a fourth option. The strong heart.

My heart, by nature, is a mix. Some parts are numb, others hardened.

But my heart by the Spirit is alive. Strong.

A strong heart is an open heart.

It feels. It bleeds. It loves. It gives.

Unlike the hard heart – the hurt gets in – but the strong heart can take it.

But it’s not just “taking the pain”. The Spirit of God does something different in your heart.

In response to pain, the strong heart grows in its capacity to love. It sees suffering and feels compassion and mercy. Christ lives in the strong heart. And where he is, miracles follow.

Where does the strong heart come from?

The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Psalm 51:17

A strong heart has seen the sin – in itself and in others. It’s the brutal reality of human life. Not sugar coating it anymore, the strong heart has fallen at the feet of the Lord and received forgiveness.

A strong heart has come to know that pain comes from sin and death. And the only answer is the sacrificed and risen Lamb who redeems the world. The Spirit of Christ enters, remains and makes your heart strong.

And when your heart is strong,

You look around,

You see the pain,

And you respond with love… no matter how much it hurts.

You give thanks and praise to God Almighty. For despite your weakness and sin, you are made strong in Christ.

You’re not afraid of the pain anymore.

A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

Ezekiel 36:26

READ PART 2 OF THE STRONGHEARTED SERIES

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