July 27, 2017

Open and Closed Hearts

Open your heart to us!” 2 Corinthians 6:13b (NLT)

Is your heart open or closed? It most likely depends on the relationship, doesn’t it?  We can have an open heart toward one person while closing off our hearts to another.  Marriage and family illustrate this concept well. A wife or husband may be totally open to a son or daughter while closing their heart to their mate. An open heart is trusting, loving and engaging. When I close my heart, I’m more suspicious, withdrawn and non-responsive. This was the case in the relationship of the Apostle Paul with the church he planted in Corinth. Issues developed within the church that Paul had to address. His attempt at correcting those issues resulted in a number of people closing their hearts toward him. They became defensive. Paul writes to them with this appeal,

“Oh, dear Corinthian friends! We have spoken honestly with you, and our hearts are open to you. There is no lack of love on our part, but you have withheld your love from us. I am asking you to respond as if you were my own children. Open your hearts to us!”  (2 Cor. 6:11-13 NLT)

Again, in the following chapter, he says,

“Please open your hearts to us.” (2 Cor. 7:2a NLT)

You can almost feel the anguish and pain in his request. If you’ve ever experienced a loved one closing their heart to you, you know what Paul was going through.

How do you know when your heart is closed? When you close off your heart to another, you withhold your love from them. Is there someone to whom you have closed your heart? A closed heart can quickly become a hard heart – indifferent, calloused and uncaring. Ask God to tenderize your heart. Time is short, and relationships matter.  Maybe you need to take the initiative and make the appeal to someone you love who has closed off their hearts to you. Before you do, take some time to read 2 Corinthians 6 and 7 to see what Paul did that restored their relationships. Notice how he addresses the issues while affirming his love and encouraging those to whom he was appealing.