Week 40 Thursday

A Soft Heart

Today’s scripture selection: Proverbs 28

Key verse: Proverbs 28:14

Have you ever accused someone of being “hard hearted”?

If you have – you’ve quoted Scripture.

It’s a very Biblical concept; this idea of someone who is so cold, so unfeeling, that he or she is said to have a hardened heart.  It’s what Egypt’s Pharaoh had – the one who tormented the Hebrew slaves and pursued them into the desert – to his own peril.  It’s what Pilate had – when he callously judged Christ.  It’s what those who cheered while Christians were thrown to the lions had.  And it’s what any who have oppressed others, for whatever reason, have had – a stone-cold heart – incapable of compassion or mercy.

And Scripture is very clear about it.  We should try and do whatever we can to steer clear of the problem.  We want hearts that are easily wounded; feeling; pained at other’s pain.  We want to be “soft-hearted” in the best sense of that term.

Proverbs makes it clear:

“Blessed are those who always tremble before God, but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble.”

Now, I don’t think most people start out in life already ready to harden their hearts.  I don’t think everyone begins their life’s journey just waiting and wanting to find ways to hurt others.  And while it may be a part of our human nature to do so; we also have great capacity for compassion and love.

So what makes the difference?

Look at the Proverb again: “Blessed are those who always tremble before God…”

There it is.  When we are willing to kneel humbly before God, with a desire to follow God’s precepts, recognizing their holy value for our lives – and for others too – that’s when we find the way to keep our hearts nice and soft.  Even in a very cold, cruel world.

So keep watch over your heart.  There are dark forces in the world that want to help you turn it into something rock hard.  But don’t let them.  Keep it sensitive and loving.

Just like God.

Prayer: Father, may my heart always be as yours, filled with compassion and grace.  AMEN.


By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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