Hardness of Heart

Discussion in 'Personal Advice, Care & Prayers' started by Religious Fanatic, Oct 26, 2019.

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  1. Religious Fanatic

    Religious Fanatic Well-Known Member

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    I need prayers for hardness of heart. I feel like I've reached the point of no return, and despite of trying to pine for prayers, further devotion to God, and other things, it's failed to bear any real fruit. I am told of the verse of people being rejected and won't find God even if they seek him with tears. I have consistently failed to adequately forgive numerous offenses throughout my life, both in the past and now, sometimes wondering if I've ever truly forgiven any of them. I tried praying for enemies for temporary joy and peace but then return to violent and bitter thoughts of hurting them or murdering them for what they did. I feel forgiving or being too vulnerable in front of others opens me up for attacks as I grew up being picked on for being different, constantly the center of unfair abuse and ridicule, people lying to put me in the crosshairs, and other forms of betrayal and hurt that left me hardened and bitter. I have often experienced it as well from self-professed "Christians", and have a hard time seeing myself as truly on the same level of sin as my enemies, thus breaking the whole "If you don't forgive, your father will not forgive you", but it's because they say if you think anything's beyond forgiveness it's because you believe you're better than others and have earned it through a degree of righteousness that they don't have. But, I am in a lot of pain. I feel the further sacrifices I make to get closer to God leave me feeling empty and hungering for more material pleasure or goods to keep me away from something I often feel is a huge sham and form of oppression (religion). But, there's good in Christianity and I want to grow as a believer and heal from this. Some say I've never really had a strong faith or believed because I would avoid saying the things I should or doing the things I should in moments of weakness. I am terribly confused and disturbed.
     
  2. Brigid

    Brigid Active Member Anglican

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    You have tried, God understands and forgives and loves you. My personal recommendation is to accept God, even if you don't feel Him, do His Will for you as He has made available (mental health care) and take your meds at the dosage/times prescribed for you. I believe you are very wounded and sick - He certainly understands illness and Knows your heart. Be at Peace! All of us care about you and will pray for you! crosssign1:
     
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  3. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    You don't have to (and in fact, you cannot) make yourself good enough for God. That is why Jesus took your punishment on your behalf. Desiring to please our Lord because we love Him and are grateful to Him is well and good, but we inevitably do poorly at it. But Jesus took the punishment for that, too!

    Medieval monks used to physically flagellate themselves. It didn't really help. Today some of us flagellate ourselves emotionally. That doesn't help, either. Jesus paid our sin bills in full.

    Rom 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
    Rom 8:33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.
    Rom 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
    Rom 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
    Rom 8:36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
    Rom 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
    Rom 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
    Rom 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


    https://www.onlythebible.com/Poems/Footprints-in-the-Sand-Poem.html

    Sometimes life is like a yo-yo. When we hit the bottom, remember that there's no place to go but UP. Cast your cares upon Him, for he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2019
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  4. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Only in the Roman Catholic church, and this was a huge violation of the rules governing monasticism instituted by Sts. Anthony, Basil, Pachomius (whose rule was the prototypical monastic rule in the Orthodox churches), and Benedict.

    What is more, it was not universal. I am reasonably certain that the Cluniac monks, for example, never engaged in the practice. Not that they were without vices. Carthusians wore a hair shirt but did not flog themselves.

    ~

    While self flagellation is wrong, repentance and with that, penance, is beneficial, which is why we fast in Lent and Advent, not for Pelagian reasons, but rather to control our own destructive impulses. I recently committed voluntarily to abstain from meat and luxurious cuisine on most days due to a feeling of bewilderment and growing despair, and it has been of benefit; my three greatest sinful inclinations are avarice, gluttony and vanity (in the early years of my career, I wore splendid business suits and enjoyed, rather too much, beholding my reflection on the windows of office buildings). I work to conquer these passions in part through periods of self-denial, to improve self-control and thus reduce the frequency of the sin, because sin does harm us in this life, considerably, which is why God wants us to not do it (the dangers of vanity and avarice are apparent, and the glutton who does not curb his appetite, which in my case has been less of a problem of late due to a health issue which precluded me from fasting for several years, will grow fat, and furthermore, gluttony indirectly stimulates other self-destructive impulses).

    Also it is important to not get in the habit, or rather I should say, for us to get out of the habit, of loving this world more than God, and to pray for his mercy and partake of the Eucharist to mitigate our failures in this regard.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
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  5. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ, through his Incarnation, did glorify fallen humanity and trample down death by death, thus sparing those who believe in him from damnation; however, we still sin, and are afflicted in this life by the consequences of sin. Thus it is proper, by focusing our love and worship on the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, One God, to repent of our sins and seek to acquire divine grace by which we can be helped to reduce the frequency and severity of our sin and thus live more harmoniously and in a manner less likely to harm others.
     
  6. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I suggest you do what @Brigid suggests, and know that we love you and are praying for you. I am aware of your great distress and pray you will be relieved of it by our loving and merciful God. Also, do not worry about errors committed fue to your disturbance, for you are not culpable for such acts. I urge you to seek to remember constantly the love of God, setting aside all doctrinal concerns for the moment, and to pray the Lord’s Prayer frequently, and read the Psalms, understanding them as both hymns and prayers. This is a great psychological comfort; it is how people driven mad by the corrupt Roman society, such as St. Anthony, found peace in the desert.
     
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  7. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    This, while true, does not negate or contradict the fact I stated: Jesus paid our sin bills in full. Nor does it really help our friend RF in his situation, about which he initiated this thread. Matt. 7:3. In a situation such as this it's more beneficial for him to meditate on Christ's forgiveness than on shortcomings; talk of repentance moves the focus in a detrimental direction.
     
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  8. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Moderated for the sake of the OP.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 4, 2019
  9. Phoenix

    Phoenix Moderator Staff Member Anglican

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    Let's forbear helping a brother in the faith by devolving the discussion into anxious back-and-forth debates on the fine points of theology. Someone's mental well-being hangs on each person's post here, which is far more than any discussion on the Internet is able to bear. I will close this thread and remind @Religious Fanatic that we here are not qualified to offer pastoral support; not even a little bit. I would urge him to seek personal pastoral counsel, instead of hanging his mental health on fickle anonymous online polemics.
     
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