"If today you hear God's voice, harden not your hearts." (Ps 95)
All of us have hard hearts from time to time, and while it is understandable, it hurts others, especially those close to us. Just as important it hurts us. When are hearts are hard we let nothing and no one in, and we pay for it. While we can hear others on the most superficial of levels, it is almost impossible to respond to friends and family with compassion and understanding. We are so wrapped up in our struggles that we ignore the needs of everyone around us.
The prophets knew this well, and it is the reason they regularly resisted God's call to announce good news and remind people to listen to God. When no one is listening, it is very difficult to keep speaking, yet that is what God demands of us. Because we never know when someone's heart will soften, we must continue to live and proclaim the Gospel. It does not matter if we are heard. It is not about our success. It is about being faithful to God as God is faithful to us.
It often surprises us, especially after a period of hard heartedness, that God never stopped listening to us and urging us to transformation. Neither do our closest friends abandon us when we fail to respond to them. They may take a step away from us in order to protect themselves, but they do not abandon us, and it is then that we realize what true friendship is. When our hearts do soften, it is good to remember, especially when friends fail to respond to us, that their hearts might be hard for a little while, and our only task is to wait with patience as God waits for us.
Today, ask God to soften your heart.