Offer Your Heart!
I have been in ministry for about 35 years and been a parent for about the same amount of time. There is one thing that I have learned through all these years— often when we think that we are merely dealing with a person with a negative attitude or offensive actions, what we are actually dealing with is a wounded heart.
Ministry and parenting aren’t much different because both need to be done from a pure heart and from the place of knowing God’s love for someone else— and allowing His love to become our love.
I have also discovered the truth behind Proverbs 15:1, “A soft (gentle) word turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Rarely do I receive a “reaction” of defense or anger when I bring what I am sharing in gentleness, respect and compassion. If we offer our heart, we usually receive back a heart response.
I would love to say that I have consistently seen this demonstrated in the church or in the homes of believers, but I have too often seen harsh words spoken or even ulterior motives (hidden agendas) brought forth in ministry meetings and even in parenting.
We must first check our hearts before we bring our words. We can ask ourselves (and Holy Spirit), ”Is there any motive of selfish gain in what I’m about to say?”, “Am I partly speaking out if offense or anger, even if what I’m bringing is truth?”, “Can I truly offer my heart and do I desire to receive their heart?”
I have not done this perfectly in ministry or parenting— especially in my early years when I was still learning patience, endurance, self-control and how to love. In those instances, I often received a reaction rather than a response. Why? Because I did not bring an offering of my heart nor offer to see their heart— I merely brought a harsh word or correction based on right or wrong that was void of love (or had selfish motives behind it). There is nothing wrong with bringing the truth and we must offer truth— but even truth without love can be just noise to the one receiving it.
“If I were to speak with eloquence in earth’s many languages, and in the heavenly tongues of angels, yet I didn’t express myself with love, my words would be reduced to the hollow sound of nothing more than a clanging cymbal. And if I were to have the gift of prophecy with a profound understanding of God’s hidden secrets, and if I possessed unending supernatural knowledge, and if I had the greatest gift of faith that could move mountains, but have never learned to love, then I am nothing. And if I were to be so generous as to give away everything I owned to feed the poor, and to offer my body to be burned as a martyr, without the pure motive of love, I would gain nothing of value.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 TPT
Jesus offered His heart to those who walked with Him— even to Judas. Yes, He spoke directly and even spoke in waya that might sound harsh when addressing the Pharisees, but it was because they were bringing laws, arrogance and traditions that harshly attacked the love and grace He was offering. They weren’t offering their hearts— their motives were not pure and not love. He was exposing their hearts in order to bring correction— but even then, it was not void of love.
As we bring our hearts and bring love to those who are before us, not all will respond but many will. We must learn from Proverbs 15:1 to “turn away wrath” rather than to stir up anger. People are perceptive and most know pretty quickly if you’ve come with your heart or have come with an agenda to accomplish something that you desire more than to see the best for them.
If we go to a brother or a sister in Christ regarding a heart matter or a life matter— go with love and offer your heart— and to carry their heart. Let your words and your heart be washed in His love and be purified from ulterior motives.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
Lastly, whether we are with our children or with one of His children— let us do all that we do in love!
“Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 TPT
God’s love has never given up on us nor has any word He’s ever spoken, even in discipline, been void of absolute agape love— “God, make us like you and purify our hearts from every way that lacks love. We offer You our hearts— purify us from selfish ways, offensive ways, harsh ways and from hidden agendas. We offer our hearts to you so that we can offer our hearts to others, bringing forth healing, restoration and unity. Make us like you, Jesus.”
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