I want to talk about tenderness of heart.
The more and more I dwell on it, I think tenderness of heart is the key to understanding the Christian message. What else is there?! If our hearts are tender then we will be able to receive and give love and more importantly – understand the paradoxical nature of love.
If our hearts are hard then we are literally unable to give, receive or understand love. Only a tender heart can give beyond what reason says it can give. Only a tender heart can suffer without resentment or unhappiness.
A tender heart is also able to open to receive the love that is beyond reason. A tender heart knows faith, and does not require explanation – because a tender heart understands that love cannot be scientifically explained, only given and received.
It is when our hearts become hard that explanation is required, and no answer will suffice because there is no answer except love itself. If your heart is not tender enough to give or receive love then you will never be able to understand it!
We are all born with beautifully open tender hearts. But life and people wound us – and a wounded heart can become defensive. Love requires risk, and to the wounded heart this risk can often seem too much to bear, and the heart then turns in on itself and becomes hard and cold.
The other thing that wounds a tender heart is sin. Regular exposure to sin hardens our hearts by allowing the sin to become normalised.
I often think that certain sins are appealing to people who may have been wounded in a specific area, because the hardening of the heart can actually help dull the pain associated with the initial wounding – hardening the heart even more. I have noticed this pattern in my own life.
The price paid for a tender heart is that I will feel pain. This is the price of love. Love and suffering cannot be separated. And certainly in my case this has been the cause of my hardening of heart. To regain that tenderness requires me to soften myself so that pain can be realised and then be given to You. It is only once I have surrendered my pain that You are able to take it away from me and then heal my wounded heart.
Can tenderness of heart ever be regained? Yes, I believe so. Because nothing is impossible for God. But one thing is sure, and that is that without tenderness of heart, I will never be capable of receiving the fullness of Your love. And I can never give to others what I have not received myself. So Jesus please, help me to examine my own tenderness of heart, and then receive from You the healing and softening that I require, so that I can reach other hearts with the tenderness I have received from You.
I love You Jesus.