Largeness of Heart
I am not the brightest bulb in the pack; in fact, when it comes to riddles or jokes, out of frustration, you will ultimately have to explain to me the solution or punchline. Yet, I consider myself a good counselor when it comes to containing the stories and complications of the lives of others. What I find is that I often experience that “aha” moment, that instant of clarity and knowledge which allows me to be of help. There are many times when my education or what I have experienced is not enough to demonstrate God’s everlasting love in the therapeutic relationship. Where does that wisdom come from? My faith and belief are that God is enlarging my heart with understanding, increasing godly compassion, and sparking the curiosity of lifelong learning that enables me to offer a glimpse of God’s love and acceptance to the hurting.
When I read, “And God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore,” I was struck with the words “largeness of heart.” (I Kings 4:29) Solomon was a young man, probably in his early 20’s when he became king over all Israel. His judgments, inventions, poems, and sayings were renowned. His reign and influence legendary. Solomon prayed for and God answered his prayer to have the wisdom to rule God’s people. Solomon knew, as is evidenced in the Proverbs he wrote, that just having intellect did not equate with wisdom. He acknowledged by His request for wisdom that He would need more than smarts and experience to be a good ruler. And God enlarged Solomon’s heart to contain the real-life issues of His people so that Solomon could settle disputes, negotiate treaties, and expand God’s kingdom on earth. I am not so foolish to think that I sit with the greatness of Solomon, but I am humbled to know that God is willing to take thought of me, too, when my prayers align with His will to speak godly wisdom when counseling others.
If you have never participated in talk therapy, you may find my words strange or find it hard to relate to the importance of establishing a trusting, non-judgmental relationship with another human being. Counseling is not just getting someone to talk about something bad that happened or getting a confession that leads to catharsis. The sessions are mutually momentous and forever memorable for both the counselor and the one seeking counseling. I often think of this quote by C.S. Lewis from The Weight of Glory.
“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously – no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.”
Therapy is not the only place where largeness of heart is needed. God considers every human being important; therefore, every relationship is an opportunity to share the serious business of godly love. And just like the edict above, our relationships should reflect joy knowing that we are considered equal in God’s eye. How we relate to others will be our testimony to the understanding and wisdom born out of acceptance that we are here but a short while living among immortal souls. Should we not make the most of our time together meaningful spirit to spirit?
Dear Lord God, You are to me the reason for this life, this time in my life, this placement in Your plan. Let me remember how little my needs and preferences are in comparison to the importance of what You have stored up for me. I thank You for all the blessings and tender mercies in my life. I thank You for all the experiences that have brought me closer to You. And I welcome Your future for me, knowing that You will enlarge my heart even more as may be needed to bring others nearer to You.