Hardness of heart, and simply not loving others as we love ourselves, is all to endemic, dare I say even amongst us Christians. If simply loving others as Christ has loved us was automatic in this new life in Christ, then why do we have to do it? Over and over again in the New Testament we’re told that we are to love each other, to put on love, of course all of this in and through Christ, made possible by God’s grace and through the work of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus seemed to get angry the most over those who failed to love, both in what they did and didn’t do. And he was provoked over the hardness of heart he found so often in people. We indicate that we’re not close to the heart of our Lord, when we consider such concerns as not all that important, or dismiss it all with a wave of the hand.
And sometimes we’re victimized by people because of this hardness of heart and failure to love. And we can respond in kind. Maybe people need rebuked, but likely, especially when we’re the ones who have suffered the hurt, we’re not the ones to do it. Unless they’ve specifically sinned directly against us, we likely are to keep it to ourselves, and pray. And above all, we have to forgive, and ask the Lord to forgive us, and our own heart toward them, maybe one of anger and hurt.
We do well to balance the above thoughts with the truth that we are all so very weak and limited in ourselves. And to try to see what the Lord might be teaching us, where we can improve and grow, and do better.
And above all, we need to forgive our brother or sister from the heart, even as the Lord has forgiven us. We are to love each other deeply, since love covers over a multitude of sins. Patient, bearing with each other, in other words sometimes putting up with each other. Certainly people have to put up with us at times, and it’s not like we don’t have our own blind spots. We look forward to the Day when there wil be no more hardness, including in ourselves, and nothing but love, in and through Jesus.