A few thoughts on the hardness of heart verses the tenderness of genuine love…

It is not new for people to be criticized for doing good. We find in scripture from where such criticism arises. Mark 3 tells us of a man who went to the synagogue with a withered hand on the sabbath day when Jesus was there. The Pharisees, who were the learned of the day, the religious leaders, stood and “watched [Jesus], whether He would heal [the man] on the sabbbath day; that they might accuse Him. And He said unto the man…”Stand forth.” And then He said unto them, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill?” But they held their peace. And when He had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for hardness of their hearts, He said unto the man, “Stretch forth thine hand.” And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.”

This short passage is packed with wisdom for us. Jesus was angry and grieved over the hardness of the hearts of those who believed themselves to be wise and righteous but were indeed hardhearted and grossly unjust. They were devoid of the love that Christ had, the Father’s love, that brought Him to this earth to bring true, pure righteousness.

Jesus was intensely sensitive to the suffering of all people, responding with loving, healing help. He was the embodiment of truth and righteousness, yet He was criticized and even unrecognizable as such to the religious leaders of the day, the wise.

When we lose sight of deep and genuine affection for the suffering in this world, we have become devoid of the love, the righteousness, and the truth of Christ. When we criticize with harshness, sit back and watch for those who are seeking to live righteously in hopes of finding fault, we then bear no fruits of the Spirit and surely add no good thing to this world.

May we consider with great love the suffering among us. May we always in good faith assume that our brothers and sisters in Christ are well intentioned unless their actions are lacking in love. May we seek to understand and look for truth before speaking out. May we NEVER speak harshly against others because when we do we fail to honor the Lord who walked among us in meekness and humility doing good always and refraining from harsh words in the worst of circumstances, undoubtedly far beyond what any of us will ever encounter.

At the very end of Mark 3, Jesus looked around and said, “…whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is My brother, and My sister, and mother.” So then, our primary concern is to do the will of our Heavenly Father and never lose sight of His heart in any matter we face.

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