Open Heart Or Restricted Heart

As I sit down to type this, Jesus’ words about Nathaniel come to mind. John 1:47 says, “…Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” 1 Peter 2:21-22 says that we are to follow Jesus’ example, “…Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth.” Hebrews 3:12-13 says that the deceitfulness of sin hardens our heart.

Think about walls. They block light, warmth, and restrict access. Emotional walls do the same. Paul addressed a group of folks about this very issue. 2 Corinthians 6:11-12 says, “O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections.”

Emotional walls are built through self-deception. We ‘think’ they will keep us from being hurt again. Yet, in truth, they block what we need the most ~ heart connection with others. 1 John 1:7 says, “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

In my High School years I heard this definition of fellowship: two fellows in a boat, rowing together. Paul wrote some amazing words in Philippians 1:7-8, “…because I have you in my heart…how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.” Verse 9-10 recorded his prayer for them. “…that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment…that you may be sincere and without offense…”

It is likely that we built our emotional wall because someone offended us when they sinned against us. Anytime we sin against another we open them up for offense. Jesus told His disciples that offenses would come. They are a given in our lives. How we react or respond is in our court. 1 Peter 1:22 says, “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth…”

What truth are we supposed to obey? Ephesians 4:29-32 is our mandate. Verse 32 says that we are to, “…be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Colossians 3:13 says, “Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another…even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”

An emotional wall blocks our love. 1 Peter 1:22 continues, “…in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart.” The verse started out that God’s way to purify our heart is through obedience to His word. What part of His word have you not obeyed? Matthew 18:35 says that we have to forgive those who have hurt us from our heart.

We cannot have an open heart of forgiveness with our emotional walls in place. They have to be torn down through confession of our sin, renouncing the lies that we have believed, and turning away from self-protective measures. God’s way is openness, transparency, speaking truth in love, and releasing our hurts to Him the moment we are hurt. It is harboring the festering hurt that jamms our emotions.

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