Sunday, August 21, 2016

Alma 12:13 -- On Tearing Down the Walls Around Our Hearts

"Then if our hearts have been hardened, yea, if we have hardened our hearts against the word, insomuch that it has not been found in us, then will our state be awful, for then we shall be condemned."
Alma 12:13

I like this idea, of needing to keep our hearts open and malleable.  If we harden them, we lose the ability to feel the spirit, and to have a relationship with God, which isn't a good thing.  We make a big deal about being open in other contexts.  At work, we need to be open to other people's ideas.  In relationships, we need to be open to sincerely listening and sometimes agreeing on a compromise (not a compromise of standards, but something that you both enjoy, rather than something only one of you enjoys).  In school, we need to have open minds, at least as far as considering and learning new ideas.

Sometimes when it comes to religion, we think that being open means being in danger of some evil influence... and I suppose it is indeed dangerous if we feed our doubts rather than our faith, or if we start opening ourselves up to sin.  On the other hand, if we close ourselves off entirely, we risk becoming desensitized, not being able to learn, and not being able to consider new ideas and spiritual feelings.

I'm not sure what the answer is globally, or if there is one.  Maybe we all have different openness tolerances, and different ways that we need to protect ourselves from certain sins.  What I am sure of though, and what is clear in this verse, is that we need to keep ourselves open specifically to God.  We can't become so enamored of proof through our other senses that lose access to our spiritual senses.  We can't shut down because of our personal pain and never let God in again.  We need to be open and able to learn... able to feel.  If we're not, then of course we are going to think that our prayers are bouncing off the ceiling, because we have shut off our ability to hear God's answering voice.

I know, it is hard to feel vulnerable.  We build walls to protect ourselves.  But when it comes to God and the gospel, those walls need to come down.  Today, let's work on doing some demolition on the walls around our hearts, and making room for God.

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