Heart Check

How do you protect your heart?  Not just physically but emotionally and relationally?  Is your heart hardened to the situations of others?  Do you have chest pain when you think of your future?  Or when you think of your past?  Is your heart strong enough to withstand the onslaught of non heart-friendly situations?  Can it go the emotional distance?  How can we get others to be heart healthy? 

I was thinking of that this morning while I cogitated all the news and comments of fellow citizens.

There seems to be such an air of negativity, a lack of compassion, even hatred floating in our midst. Definitely it is a non heart-friendly environment. I am sure each one of you can think of a comment, quote or statement given by a politician, colleague, friend or family member that is polluted with dissension, disappointment, discord and antagonism. 

How do we stop that?  How do we improve the air quality?  How do we, as fellow travelers on this journey of life, get along with one another and improve each other's journey?  How do we help each other develop healthy hearts? 

I think it starts with prayer:

  • Prayer for ourselves.  We need to recognize our fallible and humble lives.  We need to recognize that alone we cannot make ourselves healthy and whole.  We need the presence of the Great Physician in our lives, not only for our physical well-being but for our emotional, spiritual and relational well-being.  It is only in our recognition of our weakness that we can begin to get strong.
  • Prayer for others.  We need to pray for softened hearts of compassion towards one another.  If we think of others as someone's beloved brother, sister, son, daughter we might be able to transfer those thoughts into our own.   If we recognize that it is only by God's grace that we exist, we can extend that grace towards someone else.  In praying for others, we move beyond just thinking of ourselves and into the realm of others being included in the possibility for change.
  • Prayer for the situation.  Seems like the emotional and societal heart disease that we suffer; racism, bigotry, meanness, mercilessness, animosity will always be with us.  I think that when we pray about the situation, we are changed.  Laying aside the spiritual element for a moment, praying allows us to focus on a specific aspect of a problem and helps us figure out what is important and not important.  Praying can slow down a quick reaction to a comment or problem.  

What about you? How is your heart?  Have you had a heart check-up lately?