What is a tender heart? First, see what it is not. The opposite of a tender heart is a hard heart. Like a stone it is cold, unmoving, and unyielding. Pharaoh is a classic example of a man with a heart of stone. Even after personally witnessing the miraculous judgements of God he still refused to submit to God’s demands. “And when Pharaoh saw that the rain, the hail, and the thunder had ceased, he sinned yet more; and he hardened his heart...neither would he let the children of Israel go.” (Exodus 9:34,35) There is no getting through to a person with a heart like this. No matter what you say or what Scripture you point to, it is to no avail. There is no way past the solid fortress that their heart has become. They do not hear what the Spirit says. While others are moved to tears upon hearing the Word of God, they remain untouched and unmoved, “...Having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart...” (Ephesians 4:18) A hard heart leads to a thick head. Ignorance of the things of God and a darkened understanding are its results. A tender heart is worth more than all the education in the world when it comes to knowing God.
So what is a tender heart? It is sensitive. It is compassionate. It hears the Word of God, receives it and is affected not just emotionally, but in the will. Not just moved to tears, the tender heart hears the Word of God and is moved to action. While the hard heart is often filled with pride the tender heart is both teachable and humble. In fact, the way to a tender heart begins with humility. So, humble yourself. Admit any hardness of heart and seek the One who is, “...Near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.” (Psalm 34:18) Come before Him who promises: "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26)
- Excerpt from Study #5174