Ephesians 4:17-24 (NRSV)A new self in the likeness of God
Now this I affirm and insist on in the Lord: you must no longer live as the Gentiles live, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance and hardness of heart. They have lost all sensitivity and have abandoned themselves to licentiousness, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. That is not the way you learned Christ! For surely you have heard about him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus. You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Today I am struck by the realization that one of the defining characteristics of a Christian is our sensitivity and softness of heart.
Often, in today's culture, we are taught to be hard. We're told, "never let them see you sweat." We recite the mantra "big girls don't cry." We teach our boys to show little emotion and look down upon people who can't keep all of their emotions in check, all of the time.
But, today, we are reminded that part of being a Christian is having a soft heart toward all of God's children.
In other words, when one is sad, we are all sad. When one is grieving, we are all grieving. When one suffers, we all suffer together and we work on solutions that allow our prayer "give US this day our daily bread" to become a reality.
There is no shame in shedding a tear on behalf of a brother or sister. There is no wrong in righteous indignation when an injustice occurs. There is no reason that we should not embrace the fullness of joy with loud laughter that tickles the funny bones of everyone around us.
I believe that it is by our transparency, that the world will learn what real love, joy, and peace looks like! It is as we model the full spectrum of the human heart, just as Jesus did, that we will bare witness to the truth that we are all "caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny." (MLK)
Let us do our best to model our hearts after the heart of Jesus Christ who teaches us to walk in true righteousness and holiness, with hearts full of love.
Let us pray: Dear God, thank you for Jesus who teaches us that it is desirable to have a soft heart toward all people. Teach us to express our God given emotions appropriately and to your glory. Help us to use all of our feelings to declare the good news and to share love with everyone whom we meet. I pray this in Jesus' Name, Amen.
If you have questions about how to become a friend and follower of Jesus, please see the devotion entitled, “Come to Jesus” @ http://bit.ly/JVhaLta