26 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.
It goes without saying that the older brother certainly did not have the heart of the father towards his younger brother. This was clearly displayed as the younger brother returned home. One has to wonder when this became the case.
Most brothers I know have a tight knit bond that seems unbreakable. It is for this reason many, when trying to indicate to someone exactly how much they mean to them, would use the phrase, “You are like a brother to me”. From this we get things like ‘blood brothers’ and all the other various sayings indicating that one thing – the other person means a great deal to that particular person.
So where did things change between these two brothers? Perhaps the day the younger brother left home, the older brother may have become discontent because of the younger brother’s attitude towards the family and his father. Perhaps, when he ‘wrote him off’ he did so to protect himself from feeling hurt in that particular moment as he watched him leave without a care. Perhaps that very moment was the moment the older brother’s heart became like that of stone.
When comparing our lives to this parable, we find reasons for our reservations as to why some may not be allowed to come to salvation while others are accepted. We may find that this may not always have been the case for us growing up. Somewhere along the line we traded in a heart of flesh that helped us care about those individuals that need to come to know Christ, for a heart of stone. Now we are no longer caring but instead choosing to protect ourselves.
Yet it is this heart of stone that not only hinders our effectiveness in the kingdom, but also stops us from seeing things the way the Father does. It is stopping those who need Christ, from coming to be accepted. We may have had a love once long ago, but now find that our heart is more stone today. It is merely hurts, disappointments, fears and failures that have caused this to take place.
Perhaps this needs to be a wake-up call to view the condition of our own lives and hearts. It may well be the reason for your discontentment towards certain individuals and the hardness that has set in. If we are not careful that heart that once carried much love and care, will become something we fail to recognise in the end.
My friend, people disappoint and hurt us more than we are able to bear at times, but this should never cause our hearts to become cold and hard towards them, including all those around us. As was said before, every person around us is more than just a mere stranger – they are brothers and sisters who come from the same Father.
How do we receive them when they come back and repent before the Lord: cold and heartless or welcoming and overjoyed?
Heavenly Father. Somewhere along the way I may have lost my heart that once beat for all those who have lost their way. Through Your Spirit, please soften this heart of stone and cause it to beat as Yours does. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.