Have you ever given much thought to callouses?
They are caused by constant wear and pressure against skin making it thick and insensitive to anything touching it. That part of the body wouldn’t even feel pain unless it was penetrated deeply.
How does tough meat become tenderized? By exerting pressure with a kitchen mallet to break up the fibers of the meat making it much easier to consume.
Both of these examples use some type of tool against a surface with different results. One becomes tough, the other tender.
Our lives get bombarded with things that rub us the wrong way, constantly wear at us, and sometimes feel as if the fibers of our being are being torn away. So what will we do when pressure is exerted on us?
Become tough or tender?
We actually need to become both.
We need tough, calloused skin against the influences of the world, but we need be careful that the painful situations in life don’t make us hardened and calloused toward God. We need a tender heart with compassion toward those in need, but we don’t want to become overly sensitive and let our feelings rule us.
How do we do that?
I recently came in contact with a person who was very critical and condemning toward others when things didn’t go right. It would be very easy to let myself fall into the trap of having a negative attitude toward that person.
I have a decision to make.
Will constantly listening to these attitudes sway my thinking, or will I look into the heart of the person and see someone who is acting this way because of fear or deep wounds? I need to be a tough callous to avoid being affected, but have a tender heart to see the needs of the person.
Being tough or tender depends on the situation.
What are some circumstances where you need to be tough and tender?