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A Mary T. Hoffman Commentary from


"Joyful Curmudgeon" An oxymoron?
No! I see all the beauty of God's creation and I'm joyful.  At the same time, I see all the suffering and corruption going on in the world, and feel called to help expose and end it so that we may have true peace and compassion.


Born Again (continued) – 8 March 2007
By Mary T. Hoffman

In the Book of Ezekiel we find this passage which is a precursor or forerunner of the teachings of Jesus about being spiritually “born again,” when He said “…unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5)

Ezekiel 36:25-27

25. "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.

26. “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

27. “And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.”
~ New American Standard Bible

In the Ezekiel passage quoted above, the sprinkling of clean water is symbolic of purification and is still used in baptism today. Unfortunately, in many cases it appears to be an empty ritual.

What I find puzzling and disappointing about most church folks today is the fact that their “hearts of stone” (hardness of heart) have not been replaced by “hearts of flesh” that are able to feel the suffering of the whole world, as Jesus did. A person whose heart has changed from “stone” to “flesh” is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and no longer desires to “hurt or destroy” * Doesn’t the present rampant cruelty, much of it conveniently hidden, hurt the Creator God? How can someone say that they believe in and love God and cause pain to what He has made?

How can churches sponsor hunting parties and dinners featuring the remains and secretions of tortured creatures of God? And how can bow hunters call themselves Christian? Isn’t this an obvious oxymoron that anyone who has had their “heart of stone” replaced by a “heart of flesh” would recognize? And how can churches keep silent about the wearing of the skins and fur of tortured animals?

Why don’t these folks, who have no regard (or selective regard) for other animals and who claim to care about human beings, care for those people who have a “heart of flesh” with deep sensitivity and are hurt by the cruelty that’s flaunted all around them? Not only don’t they care about sensitive people, they mock them – including their own children.

* Isaiah 11:9

9. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea.
~ New American Standard Bible

Go on to: “The Sky Is Low, the Clouds Are Mean” – 9 March 2007
Return to: Born Again (continued) – 7 March 2007
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