The Hardened Heart of Self-Protection

A deep wound, a broken heart, disappointments, bitterness, and unforgiveness can cause the heart to become hardened with time. It causes us to put up walls. Our defenses go up. We self-protect, and we don’t let anyone in including God.

Self-protection leaves us running on reserve and is the cause of intimacy issues and conflict in relationships. It seems that it’s easier to be hard than soft and vulnerable because we don’t want to get hurt. But you were not created to live that way. God made you to be tender and responsive.

It’s hard to shape stone.  As long as your heart remains hard, you will miss out on the abundant life Jesus came to give. So let the living God come into your heart, heal your wounds and tear down your self-protection and defenses.

The amplified version of Ezekiel 11:16 says “And I will give them one heart, a new heart, and I will put a new Spirit within them, and I will take the stony, unnatural hardened heart out and give them a heart of flesh, sensitive and responsive to the touch of their God.”

Give your hurts to the Lord. Let God shape you. When you do that…He will leave His fingerprints all over your heart.

 

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The Prison of Unforgiveness

root-of-bitternessUnforgiveness is like taking a drug because it has the same effect on us. It numbs the pain so we don’t have to feel and replaces it with anger, rage, and bitterness. It becomes a coping mechanism to deal with the pain and violations. We become entitled to our unforgiveness not realizing that it hardens our hearts and pollutes everything around us.

See if I have been violated and hurt by someone and haven’t dealt with it I can begin to harbor and overall spirit of unforgiveness and can start to see everything in life through that negative filter, and I can become a compensator in relationships and start to keep score. What I do versus what you do. I can get very resentful.  Unfortunately for them, the poor people in my life will always lose out. Heck, they don’t even know that I am keeping score. They have just come to believe that I am a very giving person but inside I’m very resentful because I have to do all these things for these ungrateful people who probably never even asked me to do anything for them.

Somewhere along the way I took on a compensator role and began taking care of everybody. And I will get very bitter and feel victimized. What happens then is that I will spend my life living behind spiritual bars imprisoned because I’m still living in the reality of the hurts of the past. My past own me. And I will enter all my relationships bringing that wound with me expecting and demanding that I be treated a certain way and when I’m not…Watch Out! It can be brutal.

What happens is that old wound is still speaking into my life, and now it’s infected with anger, bitterness, and resentments. It’s spiritual cancer. Sadly the people in my life are paying the penalty for the sins of those who have hurt me in the past.

Pastor and counselor Dr. Chuck Lynch, author of “I should forgive but” says that bitterness and unforgiveness are like a rock thrown into a placid pond. After the initial splash, it sends out circular ripples that affect the whole pond. It starts with ourselves, expands to our spouse, then to our children, friends, and anyone we come in contact with. That’s the saddest part of all.

When we hang on to unforgiveness we give power to the person, and they continue to violate us. Furthermore, if we don’t deal with our unforgiveness issues, we can carry our victim mentality over to all our relationships. Making people responsible for our unhappiness and now people have tremendous power and control over us. Be free from the prison of unforgiveness where those who have violate, hurt, or neglected us wield power over us and continue to torment and defile our hearts.  If we don’t get help and release our hurts and learn to forgive, without realizing it we can transmit the disease of bitterness.

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