“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.” Ezekiel 36:26-27 NLT

When the times get tough, the tough get going. This has been a mantra for a long time for those who are not immune to struggle. When one has been overexposed to hate and evil it can cause you to form hardness over your heart for self-protection. But the paradox is that our survival is predicated on our ability to be tender not tough.

When we are offended there is a danger that the root of bitterness will set in and cause our love to grow cold. We cannot allow this current political climate to make our hearts grow cold.

I’ve been very vocal on the direction of our country since the election of Donald Trump and I will continue to cry out against injustice. I just have to be careful that I don’t allow my heart to lose its tenderness.

The people of God had been turned over to an oppressive King because of their evil ways and their idolatry. God saw how badly they were oppressed in all the lands where they were scattered. He felt bad for his people who were suffering because of their bad choices.

God looked on the Nation of Israel and had compassion on all his people who were living in a divided nation and subjected to hate crimes. God told the prophet Ezekiel that he was going to bring them back to their land not because they deserved it but for his name’s sake.

God will bring us back because his reputation is at stake. He will not let his children continue to be oppressed. This is how God keeps our hearts soft in tough times.

1. I will bring you back. Sometimes God uses adversity to bring us back to him. The “bringing back ” is a return to a “God consciousness” many times we don’t know God is all we need until God is all we got!
2. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. Sometimes through trauma and drama our hearts start getting harder. I’ve found myself being a little more on edge with all of this hate in America right now. I don’t like how I’m feeling. I have to protect my heart. Even last night watching the celebration of President Obama on BET, I couldn’t fully enjoy myself for thinking about all the ugly racist things that have been done and said. I had to massage my heart into remembering what First Lady Michelle said, “we have to take the high road.” God keeps our hearts tender by keeping us filled with his Holy Spirit. When your attitude is stinky your heart is in trouble of becoming stony.
3. I will take away your stony stubborn heart and replace it with a tender, responsive heart. We get stones in our heart when some of our basic emotional needs go unmet in childhood and follow us into adulthood. God is the only one who can recover the deficit of emotional needs you missed out on. Self-medicating through drugs, alcohol, or sex will only prolong the hardening of your heart. The Holy Spirit is the regenerative agent in your heart.
When we allow God to change our hearts and put in us the right spirit we will then be able to carry out the plans of God. When we allow God to change our hearts his promise to us is that he will restore our lands and increase our herds.

We cannot allow the darkness in this world to taint our souls. We must transform this hateful world with our ability to remain tender. We must remain tender by remaining in him.

Jesus said, “I am the vine and you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, ask whatever you will and it shall be done!”

Dear God,

Abide in us so that we can change this hateful nation into a loving and united nation. Don’t let hate and bigotry taint our hearts. Get us through these tough times without our hearts turning to stone. Lord, protect our hearts. Don’t let us lose our joy and our childlike faith. Guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus!

In Jesus name,

Amen