It’s been awhile since I’ve been physically able to attend church. To continue my Sunday morning worship, I livestream different services so I feel like I’m still engaging with others as they worship at the same time. Not the same, but it certainly helps during this time.
One of my favorite services to livestream is with Newsong – I often listen to them via technology since they are so far away. This morning, Dave Gibbons preached on an unoffended heart. Years ago, Misty Edwards preached on not being offended and the answer was in being wholehearted. I was just reflecting the other day on being wholehearted and how I want to love with my whole heart.
I’ve encountered some rare people in the past who were clearly wholehearted. They aren’t sarcastic or chippy or passive aggressive. They laugh and smile as you talk as if encouraging you to continue your conversation. They feel sadness and anger, and yet there seems to lack this deep bitterness or offense. It’s a root thing. At the root of who they are is a wholeheartedness. Stripped down, a whole heart. Fully whole. So I wonder, if we aren’t wholehearted, does that show that our hearts aren’t fully whole? Does that show that we actually have… a broken heart?
It’s so easy for me to look at myself or others who are not wholehearted and focus on the outward. Why so irritated? Why so bitter? Why so offended? But if inner healing and counseling have taught me anything, there’s always something deeper. In the times that I am not wholehearted – whether it be with God or with someone else – isn’t that a sign that I’m hurt? The outward behavior may be distrust or aggression or annoyance, but the core is a pain that has not yet been healed. Just the way a broken bone has to be put back into place, so does a broken heart.
Misty said to be wholehearted, our eyes have to remain fixed on Jesus. I fully agree. But I would also add to that to look deeper to see what our eyes ARE fixed on. The easy answer is how that person or thing is offensive, obviously. And then beyond that would be to find the trigger. But beyond that, I would imagine, is a pain or wound that has not yet been cleansed, loved, and nurtured. So when I’m not wholehearted with someone or even with God, I am realizing it’s because there’s still a broken heart waiting to be restored back. Waiting to be wooed back. Loved back. Waiting.
Perhaps the answer is not only to just love the other person more, but to love one’s own self more. And not just the being, but the pain. I look back on times I was mocked or embarrassed or hurt and I think, “I won’t be that person anymore, I’m going to be stronger and better and make that person I once was gone”. But maybe what I need to do is look back on who that little girl was and stop trying to destroy her. Perhaps I need to bring her out and hold her and love on her and embrace her for who she was and who she is in me today. Because if the answer is to my gaze on Jesus, I think I would find that His gaze is fixed on that little girl. And He’s waiting to heal her broken heart and put it back into place.