Hard Hearts

A doctor might describe the anatomy of the heart as a hollow, pump-like organ of blood circulation, made up of mainly smooth muscle and consisting of four chambers. Although that is important to know if you are having physical problems related to your heart, it is not the same definition a person would use concerning emotional issues. From this perspective, the heart could be defined as the center of emotion, the innermost or central part of anything, or the capacity for sympathy and feeling. In that sense, it could be considered soft or hard, depending on the person.

I know my heart is breaking right now as I watch marriages and families fall apart. As I think about what’s causing tragedy after tragedy in family life across our nation, I refuse to justify some of these situations and accept that they are excusable. Although you could probably make a case for a few, it seems like there is a high percentage of marriages and families that are crumbling because of one simple factor—a hard heart.

I would explain a “hard heart” as a heart inside a person that’s calloused and unwilling. This might include a reluctance to accept even a small fraction of responsibility for what is going on in their life and in their home. The best way for me to illustrate this is to talk about a person I know who is very outgoing, very bubbly. You would enjoy being around this person, but I know for a fact that inside their own home, their heart is hard. I have never heard of a story related to this person where they gave in. It’s always somebody else’s fault. It’s always that they were right and somebody else was wrong.

This dynamic, outgoing, fun-loving person recently tore their family to shreds. I know because I watched it happen. To this day, this individual will say they had nothing to do with it. Everybody else around this person knows they did contribute to the breakdown. Many people would say that most of the problem is with this person. The bottom line is that this person has an unwilling and hard heart.

I’ve often contemplated what keeps a person from softening their heart and I think I’ve figured it out. They are afraid to give in and ever admit fault in any situation because then they’d have to own up to all the responsibilities they’ve dodged over the years. If that bubble were to burst, they feel like their whole life would come crashing down.

That might be you today. In my own personal life when I sense an area of hardness has settled into my heart, I try to get rid of it immediately because I know that one little corner could quickly spread to a much larger area. I would compare it to dandelions that grow in your lawn. If you don’t get that first one out, it will spread its seeds. Pretty soon that beautiful green lawn you imagined will turn primarily yellow.

I want to challenge you to think about any of the areas in your heart that might be hard. Do you always think you’re right? When you think you’re right and other people point out that you’re not, are you willing to change? This is the litmus test that we should all take to make sure we don’t destroy our families with hard hearts.