Connecting Point

Connecting Point: July 7, 2024

“Hard of face and obstinate of heart are they to whom I am sending you. But you shall say to them: Thus says the Lord GOD!” (Ez 2:4).

Relationships are hard. Family members disappoint us, neighbors, co-workers, and even friends anger us, and our spouses frustrate us. Amidst our anger and hurt, we can become obstinate—a word of Latin origin meaning “stubborn.”

Because humans are creatures of habit, it is only natural for us to do things the way we have always done them, including reacting when others hurt us: “I can’t believe she did that to me!” “I am so done with him!” “I am never speaking to them again!” Perhaps “thinking the same thing over and over and expecting different results” could describe the hopelessness of these situations. When we resolve to remain obstinate in our reactions, we are pulled even deeper into the pit of our own tendencies, thereby closing our hearts to God’s grace.

On paper, most Christians would agree that we should not allow our hurt and anger to guide the ways we live with one another, yet how do we break free from our deep, negative emotions? Consider these words from Matthew 5:22-24: “But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’ will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna. Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” 

We are called to enter this process of opening our hearts—in other words, “Letting go and letting God.” We must make a conscious spiritual decision to release “the beams in our own eyes” (Mt 7:5)—including assumptions, judgments, grudges, resentments, and obstinance—to make room in our hearts for the grace of God to flow freely toward forgiveness. Amidst the hurtful, seemingly selfish acts of others, it is most often our own selfish lack of trust in the Lord that causes rifts in those relationships. Giving everything up to God is really the way to rise above our disappointments. We must have faith that God’s grace is infinitely more powerful than any storm we face.

May we open our hearts to God’s grace so that his mercy will guide us to forgiveness, understanding, and love.