When you have been hurt, it’s easy to put up barriers. But be careful—a protective shell can turn into a ‘heart of stone’: resistant, unreceptive, impenetrable even to God.
Kristin Armstrong writes: ‘The only thing more painful, and with… more serious ramifications than a broken heart, is a frozen one… Paul warns us [about]… allowing our hearts to harden. “They are darkened in their understanding… separated from the life of God… due to… hardening of their hearts.” (Ephesians 4:18 NIV) A soft heart is not weak or naive. To the contrary, wisdom, experience, and faith make for a strong heart, weathered by compassion and seasoned with mercy. A hardened heart is not protected, it’s merely encased in injury, and it is painfully obvious to everyone but you… After a weekend that felt like one painful test after another, I called my best friend in tears. “Why won’t this end? How strong does God want me to be? I can’t take it anymore!” Being a godly woman… she replied, “Perhaps it’s the other way around. You have been strong enough. God wants your heart to be soft and open.” I hadn’t thought of it that way. In response to heartbreak, betrayal, or shame, it is… easy to develop a heart of stone. We think this will protect us from… more pain. The problem with stone is… it feels nothing—no pain, but no love. It is a trap that feels like self-preservation, but it is actually self-destruction. [God] wants to give you a heart of flesh. With His love you can emerge from a painful season of loss with a heart that is yielding, porous, and ready to receive the gifts He has… for you.’