Should We Be Tenderhearted?

The longer I live the more complexities I see in living. They’re not as paralyzing as they used to be. I pray more for a spiritual nose to sniff out the path between precipices.

Take tender-heartedness, for example. I think one of the most practical and important passages in the whole Bible is Ephesians 4:31-32. God put that there for me. It is one of the most important mandates in my life.

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

There are dozens of situations where I should be more tenderhearted than I am.

But what about 2 Chronicles 13:7? Jeroboam and “certain worthless scoundrels” — this is already not sounding tenderhearted — defied Solomon’s son Rehoboam and broke the kingdom in half. Why did that rebellion succeed? Multiple reasons. Here’s one.

“Rehoboam was young and tenderhearted, and could not withstand them” (2 Chronicles 13:7, KJV). That’s a good literal translation.

So there is a tenderheartedness that is out of place and harmful. Rehoboam was too soft. The situation called for firmness, toughness, resilience. It called for a heart that could not be easily “touched” with misleading emotions.

So here I am at 65 still pleading to God daily for the spiritual sensor to find the path between hardness that destroys and hardness that saves.

Join me. It is not a cocky life, but it is Godward.

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Desiring God exists to say, "God's ultimate goal is to glorify himself...and that's good news." Everything they do aims to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ. Desiring God provides free access to the preaching and teaching resources of John Piper, pastor for preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis and author of over 30 books on ministry.