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“We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses;  in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger;  in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love;  in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left;  through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors;  known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed;  sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

 We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you.  We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us.    As a fair exchange—I speak as to my children—open wide your hearts also.”

– 2 Corinthians 6: 1-13

Paul begs the church of Corinth to open their hearts. He says, “Look! You see all that I have suffered? You see the sleepless nights and the hardship and heart break? I have opened my heart to you. And it’s worth it. It’s worth the gospel. It’s worth Christ.”

This verse, even before I considered the context, spoke measures to me. Paul knew suffering: his life was marked by imprisionment, anguish, rejection, homelessness, hunger, and abuse. Nevertheless, he knew that it was worth it. He knew that knowing Christ was worth it. He was open to anything Jesus asked, because he knew that Jesus’ plan would be so much more rich than any plans of His own. And now he is asking the Corinthians to let him into their hearts. He begs, “I have opened my heart to you! I have prayed and agonized over your faith! Open your hearts to what I have to say. Open your hearts to God.”

Doesn’t God ask us the same thing everyday? Is that not what God calls us to do? He commands it in different ways: love your neighbor, give out of poverty, clothe the naked, shout my name from the rooftops, pray to Me often, trust me fully. But He is asking the same things each time: open Your hearts to Me. Let Me in. I am worth it. Find life in Me. I am all You have ever wanted. 

He is the desire of our hearts. He is complete contentment. He is the faint hope we still have in unfailing love. He is life, and He asks us to live with open hearts, ready to receive His infinite grace and abundant blessings.

To the hurting, the addict, the numb, the faithless, the Pharisee, the sinner like me:

Let’s open wide our hearts together.

– Mary Madeline

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