“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26
In this verse, God describes two different conditions of a man’s heart; one is a hardened heart of stone; and another, tender and soft heart of flesh. A heart of stone is obviously a hard heart. It is a heart which is quite impossible to be penetrated. A person with a hardened heart will not allow himself to be hurt. He builds up protective walls and is very defensive against people who will try to move beyond the ‘boundaries’. He cannot receive love from people, and at the same time, he cannot give love also, because he has got no love to give. He does not only lock himself behind those walls,
A heart can become stony as a result of many things, often a collection of events which have happened over a period of time. If a child faces rejection, he is going to grow up building walls which disallow people to approach them, for fear of further rejection. If someone has been constantly receiving negative words and pronouncements, it will not be easy to be teachable because he believes that everyone thinks badly of him. And so therefore, a stony heart is a very lonely heart. You may think that a stony heart is a protective one, but you are actually missing out a lot of good things as well.
People with a stony heart appear tough on the outside. They try to appear strong and brave on the outside, and they seem to be emotion-less. Despite all that they are going through, they try not to get emotional. They have a very strong character, and can at times be very hurtful and harsh. This is especially true to guys who believe that macho guys should not cry.
Meanwhile, flesh is soft and tender. A heart of flesh is one which is capable of giving and receiving love. Yes, it is vulnerable to pain as a person with a heart of flesh is willing to take chances to cultivate friendships, but it is a receptive heart. A heart of flesh is a healthy heart. They are willing to take the chances to expose themselves to the uncertainties of relationships.
God wants to give us a heart of flesh because He has given us emotions. God has given human an ability to feel and respond to feelings; not to be overcome by our feelings, but emotions is a gift. A compassionate person is an emotional person. A fleshy heart can express its emotions freely towards God. If you are an intercessor, you need to be able to feel and hurt for the dying world. If you are a counselor, you will need to have a heart for the hurting world. All these cannot be done if you have a heart of stone.
God wants to exchange you heart of stone for a heart of flesh. Do not be afraid of being hurt, because often we miss what God has given to us by being defensive. We need to receive the gift of emotions once again and allow ourselves to enjoy the emotions that God has given.