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Thread: Harden not your hearts

  1. #21
    darkened dreams Array labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by bananatrombones View Post
    The logic of having a permanantly "soft" heart is that you'll be taken for a chump quite a lot, hoodwinked rather easily and give in to every doe-eyed scoundrel that scrounges the price of a coffee.

    Better to have a hard heart now and again than pave your road to hell with good intentions.
    I view it from the opposite angle. If "soft" hearted has a relationship to empathy, then that means it provides insight, rather than blindness. Empathy means that not only do you realize that someone is overpricing your coffee, but there is also a sense of the silent desperation that needs to find security in an extra fifty cents. If a person has a wealth of insight and understanding, defensiveness dissolves away. The internal resources are plentiful to offer to those who are still fighting out of fear. Is it even possible to feel anger or hate without an underlying fear of powerlessness and personal violation?

    Bitterness breeds many fear tactics like prejudicial thinking, overcompensation, and closing off. When hate takes over the mind, it becomes deeply irrational fighting a battle greater than it is actually presented with.

    1. People of category X cause me suffering and therefore I will fight and dominate anyone of said category before they hurt me again.

    2. Someone made me feel vulnerable and stupid in the past, so I am going to make everyone else feel this way in order to protect myself.

    3. I cared for and trusted someone and they hurt me, so i will never care about another person.

    A person can approach life defensively and steal another person's shoes that are better than his own. Or that person can be unafraid and realize that if someone does steal his shoes, he has that inner strength and wherewithall to walk without them. One is only violated if he feels dependent on that which was taken from him. A person only has to continue to fight if there is a sense that he has not yet won.
    The first man to raise a fist is the man who's run out of ideas. H.G. WELLS
    The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. FEYNMAN

    If this is monkey pee, you're on your own.SCULLY

  2. #22
    Senior Member Array matmos's Avatar
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    Mar 2008


    Quote Originally Posted by toonia View Post
    I view it from the opposite angle.
    Well done, Toonia. You have viewed my little attempt at an aphorism with some scrutiny. This was my point, rather than the veracity (or otherwise) of a woolly soundbite.

    In reality Harden not your heart was easy to deconstruct because of its obvious remoteness from its original Biblical roots. In removing the phrase from it's context it becomes ambiguous drivel.

    So let's adjust my little phony piece of wisdom by altering it slightly:

    Better to have a soft heart now and again than pave your road to hell with bad intentions
    If you accept the "now and again" could be as much as 50/50 then the phrase means exactly the same literally, but takes on an entirely different slant figuratively.

    So should we judge a book by its cover? Well if it's a well-worn cover, it may indicate it has been read many times; or it may have just sat on a shelf in the bathroom for years...

    Fun, isn't it?

  3. #23
    LL P. Stewie Array Beorn's Avatar
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    Dec 2008


    I don't think it is.

    Even though I think it is good biblical advice I don't think negative statements are as helpful or as accurate as positive statements. This is evident when applied to the golden rule. The positive version of the golden rule (do unto others...) is more helpful and instructive than the negative version (do not do unto others...). The negative version would not require me to help an injured person on the side of the road it would only require me not to kick the person.

    So in order to know how to keep one's heart from hardening one must know what is the opposite of a hard heart. But, even before that we must determine what is a hard heart. While cynicism might be a descriptive term of a hard heart I think the more biblical and specific term is unbelieving. When Paul (or whoever) makes use of this statement in Hebrews ch. 3 he also says "Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God." I think this also makes sense if you apply the term of unbelief to Pharaoh and his hard heart.

    I don't think love is the opposite of a hard or unbelieving heart. I think the opposite is faith in God. Romans 11:20 states "That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear."

    That all being said my dictionary defines insightful as conveying an accurate or deep understanding of a thing. Given the difficulty in ascertaining the meaning of the statement within the Bible and its ability outside of the bible to be open to a broad range of interpretations I don't think the statement is that insightful.

    My nomination for most insightful statement goes to the westminster divines:

    "Manís chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever."

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