I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.Ezekiel 36:26
I have heard this verse preached many times, and probably spoken on it myself, but just recently it has made sense to me. Sense in that way that God doesn’t wave a magic wand over us if we show willing and then all is fine and one get one’s “heart of flesh rather than heart of stone” or all those other things that God promises to do. It is a two-way thing. One needs to do more than just say “here I am Lord“. Each time someone in the Bible says “here I am” there is then something they have to choose whether to do or not. And I think it is the same with being able to get this heart of flesh, this malleable heart that can feel God/The Universe’s ways.
I’ve mentioned this before in Heart of Flesh/Heart of Stone but I feel this post is how I saw my practical outworking and how it fits in with the things I’ve been working through around Forgiveness. I’m not sure if it is the same with everyone but with me God/The Universe starts with thoughts and ideas and then has to pop in a practical to make it all make sense fully to me. I’ve always preferred sermons that have a practical application.
There have been some issues recently that have upset me and I could feel myself backing away, going into protection mode, keeping myself safe. But then I got a picture of how this was myself building walls, solid walls, in my heart. A heart of stone isn’t how we are born but is grows in lots of little compounds of hardness as we get hurt and don’t find a safe place to deal with those hearts. I do also think we get taught to hold on to hurts, etc, often by learning how to blame others.
So there I was journaling away around some of the things that had upset me recently writing things like of “well that just adds on to all hurt/rejection/misunderstanding/abandonment/etc I’ve had before which of obviously why I have acted/reacted to others/friends/family/etc in this way.” Almost a “it’s not my fault”, a blaming.
Then my pen brought me up short. Slowly, as if God/The Universe was speaking in that still small voice, I felt let to forgave myself for feeling this way, for adding on a serious of hurts to other hurts, to blaming both the most recent person who had hurt me with all those in the past and using it as a reason for my behaviour. So I forgave myself for my behaviour which then seemed to mean that I no longer had to forgive others because it was my heart of stone which was the issues. Also realised I had to trust God/The Universe that as I forgave myself for adding things up all those hurts which when made it ok for me to think I could react a certain way it was safe for me to become more vulnerable.
Safe is such a big word that maybe one day it will get a whole blog to itself!
I got a picture of this place in my heart that had built this wall around the hurt so I could keep the hurts safe and keep going back and giving them a poke. Then as I got more into forgiving myself and asking for forgiveness for holding on to this hurt so I felt my heart relax, and I watched this stone wall fall and disappear. Interestingly too I looked on my Fitbit and my heart rate had gone down.
Over the last few days things have happened that have been blessings, which may or may not have happened anyway, but because my heart is open rather than closed I can see those blessings for what they are, been able to enjoy them and feel good about them.
I do now wonder if the whole line of “forgive us what we have done wrong as we forgive others” is so much of us letting go of how we hold on to hurts and build our walls and then use that as an excuse for our behaviour. So if I forgive myself the blame I have placed on my behaviour so I forgive that other person.
Makes you wonder if that line in the Lord’s Prayer should be “help us forgive ourselves so we can forgive others”.
Are we willing to say “here I am” to gain our fully malleable hearts with all the pain that could come from having a soft, fleshy heart?