“Hardened hearts have such a propensity to get shattered. Soft hearts don’t easily break. . . . Undealt with hurt and pain hardens like parched soil. And the only way to soften it afresh is for the tears to fall soft and liquid and free-flowing once again.”- Lysa TerKeurst
Lysa TerKeurst concludes Chapter 12 of Forgiving What You Can’t Forget with her second and third observations about the true nature of bitterness.
2. Bitterness isn’t usually found most deeply in those whose hearts are hard but rather in those who are most tender. Hurt causes a caring person to feel unsafe. Furthermore, the sharp edges of broken trust cut them to their core. As a result, they resist closeness and thus avoid more hurt. This protection = the motivation behind bitter projections.
3. Bitterness isn’t an indication of limited potential in relationships. Usually the heart possessing the greatest ability to love deeply is the bitter heart. So when that deep hurt comes, it cages the love that once roamed wild and free. Therefore, Lysa explains, “Caged love often has a bitter cry.”
In addition, Lysa notes what happens the further we get from the source of our grief. The more solidified our hardness becomes. Hence, it’s futile to beat the bitterness out of someone. Or point at it and poke it out, plead with it, or provoke it out of someone. Instead, like a farmer prepping hardened soil:
“You soften the hardness out. And as the softening breaks up the hard ground, you then mix in perspective. Perspective is the best fertilizer there is. What we’ve gone through is not a waste when it fertilizes the softened ground of our hearts, increasing the chances for new life to thrive.”
Consequently, Lysa exhorts, we need to treat every person with kindness and respect their loss. For every person with a hurting heart carries a loss of some kind. And healing comes through processing loss together. Thus, the way in = the way out.
Finally, Lysa wonders, “What if bitterness is actually a seed of beautiful potential not yet planted in the rich soil of forgiveness? What if?”
Today’s question: What Scriptures address hardened hearts? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Resentment versus bitterness”