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Heart (Hardened and Rebellious)

“…we must beware of the hardening of our hearts (Hebrews 3:15).  In Greek, the word “harden” refers to “making stubborn” or “unbending...A hardened heart refuses to respond to the Spirit and closes itself off to the truth.  It shields itself against the Gospel, lest the mercy and goodness of God penetrate the soul. The source of the hardness of heart can be extreme adversity such as the hunger and thirst of the Children of Israel in the desert.  It can come from the disappointment that turns to despair or an unwillingness to believe in what cannot be seen.  Its origin can be a spirit of pride, anger, revenge, resentment or hurt.” (Fr. Basil)

“The creator of heaven and earth, of all that is visible and invisible, of all that we know and all that remains unknown, this same Lord at the same time “regards the lowly.” He sees, knows and cares for each one of us human beings, and especially those in greatest distress and need. The proud and haughty are self-sufficient and have little need for God. We are all like that to one degree or another, and at such times our hardened shells make it impossible for God’s love to enter in.” (Fr. John Jillions)

“Those who love God and prepare themselves to assimilate his light will begin to be transformed even in this life; they become "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4). But those who resist and ignore God "harden their hearts" (Hebrews 3:15). If they "love darkness rather than light" (John 3:19), they will find the inescapable brilliance to be searing misery and paradoxical blindness…How can the same Light affect people in different ways?..."The same sun that melts wax hardens mud" is how Origen, the 3rd century Egyptian writer, put it. In the 4th century, St. Basil the Great used the story of the three young men in the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:1-30) as an illustration: the fire spared the prayerful trio, while the guards who threw them in were destroyed.” (Frederica Matthewes-Green)

“The dictionary definition of harden uses words like “pitiless” and “unfeeling” and “unlikely to change.” That is why we describe the worst criminals as “hardened” criminals. But we don’t have to be hardened criminals to have enough hard heartedness in us that needs softening. Many of us have hardened parts of our hearts in response to rejection, fear, unfair circumstances, pride and lots of other things. Regardless of why, it does us no good. We need to pray for the softening of our hearts, under any circumstance, so that we become “gentle and lowly (i.e., humble) in heart” and find rest for our souls (Matthew 11:29). The humbled and softened heart is free from much of the anxiety and anger that plagues the hardened heart. Much more importantly, it is the gateway to our salvation.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“Just as the softhearted develop souls that are like wax, ever softening as they age, so the ones who by nature worship the earth and material things, their minds set far from God, their hearts are hardened like mud. They use every opportunity to advance their own cause, just like Pharaoh. It’s not possible to impress on such hearts the likeness of the Lord. Yet every soul that loves God opens itself to the way of the Lord. God the Creator can continue the process of creating His likeness, molding and shaping the soul that responds to light and warmth with a welcoming pliability.” (Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky)

“The ability of some people to willfully harden their hearts is almost unbelievable. They possess a determined stubbornness that defy common sense and rational thought. It’s as though once they decide upon a direction, they literally can’t change course. The truth, however, is that these people are not incapable of changing course. Their problem is that they have consciously or subconsciously counted the cost of believing the truth and have decided the price to be too high.” (Eric M. Hill)

“The heart inclined to idolatry, sin, and evil is like newly mixed cement. The cement is soft and it has a chance to be reshaped and reformed for a while. But it eventually hardens beyond the point where it can be reshaped and reformed. After that it can only be smashed and broken apart.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“Israel's attachment to this world often led them to forget the one true God and to go after other gods. We, too, need to guard our hearts, lest we do the same thing…The Lord brought them out of Egypt that He might bring them in to the land of promise. Similarly, He brings us out of our attachments to this world and into attachment to the kingdom of God…A conscience seared with a hot iron [1 Timothy 4:2] describes the reality that repeated willful sin blunts our sensitivity to good and evil. A grim warning to all Christians to reject evil in all forms and thereby maintain a softness of heart toward God.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Deuteronomy 6:12, 23, 1 Timothy 4:2)

“…the way to find life is to practice the way of the Lord…Spiritual death and destruction always remain a possibility….Finding life, very plainly, demands obedience, constancy in prayer and worship and, above all, watchfulness over our hearts and souls and adherence to what is required of us.” (Dynamis 6/11/2019)

“We often use such phrases as “good hearted;” “a perfect heart,” “the heart of the matter,” “a hardened heart,” “a pure heart,” “a foolish heart” or “a broken heart.” Many of these expressions have come from the writers of the Bible. Indeed, the word “heart” or its derivative occurs almost 1000 times in the KJV of the Bible from the front cover to the end. Do we need to be a theologian, a monk, a physiatrist, or an intellectual to understand this? No, surely not. Most of what we need to know is just plain common sense. After all, no one can deny that we have this place in our being that makes us run. It is our personal identity. Our heart makes us who we are. It is easy to us to talk about the “heart of the problem.” Indeed, everyone has a heart to understand, and recognizing this is the first step to becoming identified with our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rick Burns)

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