Ezekiel 36:26-I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
In order for us to have true relationship with others and with God, He must pierce or melt our hearts of stone. We are like medieval knights in armor, peering out through our helmets to slash and poke at one another, secretly wishing that the others would open up so we could really meet them.
A heart of stone is a false protection, a hiding place we believe will shield us from hurt, but which in fact makes us the loneliest people in the world. The body of christ is filled with people with hearts of stone, people who can love and serve others, but who can’t allow others to reach them. Healing is hard work! We need others around us who we trust, who we can enter into open honest dialogue with even if things get raw and ugly at times.
Inner vows go hand in hand with a stony heart. Although they are made early in life and are often forgotten, they act as directives, which control our responses to situations and people around us.
A stony heart is an automatic hidden defense mechanism, which keeps us from being vulnerable or “seen”. It is a hiding place, or a wall that we believe will protect us from hurt, but which really makes us lonely and miserable. The vows and the walls are usually hidden, formed in the first 6 years of life and forgotten. This is a learned behavior, as if programmed, these habits, patterns and structures function automatically.
These walls and stony hearts are formed out of our earliest experiences of frustration and dissatisfaction.
The absence or presence of love, laughter, and affection in the home will determine the hardness of the heart.
The condition is more often hidden in Christians. You will see a loving, caring, serving believer who can minister, but cannot be ministered to, or has trouble receiving from God.
The impact of the heart of stone on others….
In families, a person with a stony heart cannot receive love and intimacy. In relationships they tend to sabotage themselves and their partner by putting them down. In the body of Christ the person with a stony heart tends to drive wedges, create strife, and destroy unity.
The damage a stony heart causes the carrier….
The person with a stony heart can develop physical problems, build up of stress, breakdown of the immune system, as well as cancer.
They experience loneliness, isolation, and feelings of not being understood by others.
Leaders with stony hearts can’t hear rebuke. They usually have gaping holes in their armor; they can’t heed warnings, and are subject to temptations and delusion. They also suffer from burnout caused by anger.
We read in proverbs that there is safety in a multitude of counselors (Proverbs 24:6). Those with hearts of stone have trouble availing themselves of this protection.
Healing the heart of stone.
Recognizing the heart of stone can be difficult due to the desire to remain “unseen.” Ask God to help us understand how the stony heart was formed. This process can be slow, like peeling an onion.
Confess and repent of reactions to early experiences. Confess and repent for wounding loved ones and for self-destruction.
Forgive parents and or caretakers, as well as self and damage caused to others. Ask god to put the heart of stone to death on the cross and the heart of flesh to be given life.
I will talk a bit about inner vows on the next entry. A big part of the dysfunction we live out.