there’s a lot to be understood by the response we have to statements, particularly when our responses build up ill feelings. equally, this is applicable to those statements we respond to favourably. and because of the chemistry, you might argue, you naturally learn to incorporate only the positive statements into your life.

then Jesus comes along and says something like: “Repent!”

immediately, depending on who and where you are, you either embrace the command with love or you reject it outright, even aggressively. at another time in your life, you might hear the same command and this time, embrace it. what’s changed?

it’s got nothing to do with chemistry- it’s all about the condition of your heart.

and even as i say that, some of you will respond with hostility [how dare you!], others not….

and so we deal with each other and experience the same range of responses in everyday life, even in tight-knit communities which profess love. anything we say at any time is liable to set somebody off.

when our heart towards somebody is one of trust and love, we accept and receive what they say because we know them to be loving and it’s ok, in fact, encouraged for them to speak into our lives. when our heart towards somebody is less than what it should be, we immediately suspect the messenger’s motive; we become cynical; deafen our ears and stiffen our necks.

it’s exactly what happened [is happening] with Jesus. some believe Him, others not. the only difference: the condition of their hearts towards Him.

until your heart is softended, it cannot hear a message of love- it only hears criticism and with that comes a range of justifiable emotions to enable you to strengthen your heart against the message… and the messenger.

then there are times when things are said out of love [but not out of hate, the motive can be multiple, ie. pride, jealousy, political, hurt]- does that give you the justification to respond in like manner? no. all that does is drop the bar completely and the one to “win” that discussion is likely the one with the most experience at that level.

no, respond with truth and in love, in whatever form that may take. and so it continues…