If you notice, children are seldom hardened in their little hearts and lives. Although children are being hardened in their hearts younger and younger these days due to the widespread acceptance of wickedness, overall, children still remain the same.
There is an open, un-feared vulnerability about their every way that speaks to so many on so many different levels. It's why children inspire so many to such great heights.
But as life evolves and injustice is lived among and difficult circumstances encloses us into despair, our hearts turn to itself for survival. It creates within it a wall of stone that gives the illusion of safety and the appearance of comfort.
But this is sin. It is not right. It is not good or holy or righteous. It is not pleasing to the Lord and it serves no purpose other than an increase in our pride and wickedness of heart. His desire is the softening and molding of my heart to meld completely with His in perfect love, unity, selflessness.
"Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh."
"And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God."
It's quite ironic that both these Scriptures demonstrating to us that His desire is to give us a heart of flesh (a soft heart) are in Ezekiel. One of the expressed purposes of this book is to confront the exiles of Israel which have been brought to Babylon. In their hardship, Israel turned to other idols and to false gods to survive the heartache and trauma they'd endured.
Much like we do now. When our marriage is on a fast track to divorce, when a newborn baby is being declared a death sentence, when our parents die an untimely death to cancer or some other horrible disease, when we receive terrible news that rock our entire core... Our hearts tend to harden in an instinctual attempt to survive trauma. When we know the Scriptures in Matthew 5,6 and 7 but cannot bear the thought of living through the persecution one more day.
But it's all a lie.
Only Jesus can remove the heart of stone. Only He can heal the wounded and broken-hearted. Only He can declare justice when injustice surrounds us. And only He is enough. I wish I had a "how-to" when it comes to giving over our hearts of stone-- of bitterness and un-forgiveness, false justice and self-centeredness-- but all I can see is the picture of a Potter molding His clay.
His patient hands create the vessel which He purposed in His heart in the beginning, and when the vessel dries up and becomes stiff and unmovable, He showers the vessel with just enough water to make it bend and flex again.
His Spirit is our water. His Word is our water.
And that's the best I can do when it comes to a how-to.
"... so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word..."
-- Ephesians 5:26