“I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26
Have you been struck with unforgiveness? If so, have you looked at the weeds surrounding your heart? Do you want to de-weed your garden planted within you?
For some reason, I feel a great desire to write about “love”. It seems everything I have been reading is about love. The daily readings have been about love, a few devotions I have read, and a book on friendship with Christ.
It is difficult for us to love when our heart is “of stone”. Typically, our hearts become rigid and crystallize into a hardened substance that prevents love from being able to filter through when we have been hurt or lost trust with someone and we can’t forgive them or won’t forgive them. In Ezekiel 36:26, God tells us He will give us a heart transplant by removing the heart of stone and giving us a heart of flesh. The only way He can do that is if we create space for Him to do so, chiseling a small crack in the stone by forgiving those who have hurt us, those who have betrayed us, those who have trampled our pride or caused pain and discontent of some sort.
Forgiveness is hard because we often feel that person isn’t deserving or that it is justified to be angry or upset with that person. What we don’t realize is that the pain doesn’t go away until we forgive. The anger and bitterness is what crystallizes our hearts to the point of separating us from “LOVE”, from God. When forgiveness surfaces, breaking even a tiny pinhole in the stone, God is able to do His work and renew the heart of stone with a heart of flesh, literally melt away the hardness and de-weed His garden within you.
I personally have wrestled with acts of forgiveness with people who have hurt me, betrayed me or dampened my pride. What I have discovered is that when I have allow myself to break the wall of unforgiveness, my spiritual being becomes victorious, joy flourishes and in that joy I find love and a closer union with Christ.
God commands us to love one another. In fact, Jesus gives us this as the second greatest commandment in Matthew 22:36-39. Love is crucial to our Christian faith, because if we don’t have love, we become separated from God. If we cannot forgive our neighbors or ourselves to allow love to overcome our heart transforming it from stone to flesh, then we become lost in the weeds that surround our heart. God created us to desire Him. He has written it within our hearts (Catechism of the Catholic Church 27) and it’s what draws us closer in relationship with Him, to a friendship with Him. It is through the love of God we were created and through the love of God, the sacrifice of His “only begotten Son” that we exist through all of eternity.
St Teresa of Calcutta said that “joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love.” To fulfill God’s will for us to help each other reach the gates of Heaven, we must first have love, love of self and love of one another. Let God’s desire for you written within your heart, flourish and nurture the seed He planted when He created you.