The Castle of the Heart
God created us for relationship, and relationship forces us to encounter the opinions of others. Often we are more opposed to the opinions of our brothers and sisters in Christ than those of the world. How many times have you met someone who says they no longer attend the local church because they were hurt by others in the church?
A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, And contentions are like the bars of a castle.
─ Proverbs 18:19 NKJV
We tend to expect more from those who follow Christ and are tempted to judge them or become offended by their words or actions. Our verse today encourages you to guard your heart and refuse to become offended as well as taking care not to create division and hurt in the heart of another. The consequences can prove devastating to everyone – sometimes even those who weren’t involved in the original situation.
Break down the walls of contention by choosing to love unconditionally.
Offense can create walls in the castle of the heart, and without even realizing it, the offended spirit of a person becomes imprisoned. That hurt or pain begins to dictate their decisions. It also prevents freedom that comes through forgiveness.
When the focus is on whose belief is right or wrong, instead of the common love of God that unites us, opportunities for offense rise up and cause division. Refuse to allow walls of contention to grow in the castle of your heart by choosing to love unconditionally.
Today’s One Thing
Set an alarm in your heart today by asking God to help you recognize the warning signs of becoming offended or causing offense to others. One place to start is carefully monitoring your emotional responses. Ask yourself –
- Does this make me angry? Why?
- Why did that hurt my feelings?
- Why do I want to judge their opinion and tell them how wrong they are?
- How can I respond with the love of Christ in this situation?