Ezekiel 36:26 NKJV‬
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”

Don’t let your heart be hardened. In this world today of so much conflict and strife, often it seems a rock hard heart must be sledgehammered to tenderize it. Not so. Be kind, honest, and gentle. Speak Truth in love for building peace.

Proverbs 15:1 NKJV says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Do I speak peace or conflict? Reconciliation or revenge? Repentance or retribution? In our world that needs to SEE Truth, harshness breeds hardness of heart.

Why use a sledgehammer on a heart of stone to make a pile of rocks when a chisel over time can create a masterpiece of The Master? It is much better to respond with Truth in gentleness of spirit that tenderizes a heart than to augment an argument against it.

There are many times I want to firmly, forcefully stress a point or truth. I find myself wondering how can one not see? More often than not, folks just don’t have all the facts, context, or history. Frankly, it often pays to listen- wholeheartedly listen in a conversation. And then ask questions. Questions that plant seeds, shed light, and spur personal deliberation. The Truth of God cannot be forced on another. Truth must be presented so one can logically progress to conclusions on their own. I am only responsible for the willingness to present the chisel. God is responsible for the outcome.

Questions asked that provoke an individual’s thinking about what they believe as truth are good questions. Questions like: Why do you think of that/this? How did you come to that conclusion? Did you ever consider _______?  Are you aware of_______? I see/think about that this way… what do you think?  Sharing a personal experience or testimony from my life that demonstrates the power of God can smooth rugged edges. People tend to keep too many skeletons hidden in closets when so many of us have similar skeletons. (Skeletons are very similar to rock here.) To open my closet and share my skeletons is a vulnerable thing to do, yet it has power to tenderize a hurt and hardened heart. It often builds trust and a sense of safety. My skeletons are a part me. However, they have no power to condemn me or hide Truth from me anymore since my closet has been opened. Jesus healed and continues to heal all of that.

My feet must be planted on the solid ground of God’s Word, and my heart must be in right standing so the Spirit of God can work through me. If I have secret skeletons, if my heart is hard, my words harsh, or my attitude angry, I will facilitate building barrier walls of stone in others rather than chiseling away at ingrained ideas and ideology, or harms and hurts. The Spirit has a way of tenderizing hearts and it can take time. Have you ever tried to move a mound of rocks or stone?

There are many hearts of stone.  So, with the Spirit in my heart today, my sledgehammer down, my closet open, I pick up my chisel and prepare for whatever work God has for me today. May my conversations not contribute to fortresses of stone built on the muck and mire of the day. I hope I can gently help another to set aside their sledgehammer, grasp their chisel, and begin chipping away, creating a tender heart lead by the Spirit, that becomes a masterpiece of The Master.