-- 2 Corinthians 6:11-13
An open mind -- if by that we mean a discerning mind that tests all things and clings to what is good -- is a very good thing. But it must be partners with an open heart. A wide open heart. An open heart is much preferable to what the world considers an "open mind." The point of an open mind, like an open mouth -- paraphrasing Chesterton here, I think -- is to shut it again on something solid. Or, if you prefer Steve Taylor, don't be so open-minded that your brain leaks out. If our mind is closed in the right way, shut on the solid things of Scripture, an open heart makes a lot of difference.
What does an open heart look like? It probably doesn't wear its feelings on its sleeves, but is certainly transparent in its dispositions. An open heart has developed a thick skin but remains tenderhearted. Funny how that works.
An open heart feels no compulsion to self-protect or put on airs. An open heart sees no advantage in putting up a facade. An open heart knows it is hidden with Christ in God, so there is nothing left to hide. An open heart bleeds out grace. An open heart is generous with its affections. An open heart is missional with its passions. An open heart is hospitable to the joys and pains of others. It rejoices with those who rejoice and weeps with those who weep. An open heart sits across the table from another open heart and does not check its watch.
An open heart feels the circumstances it finds itself in but, inhabited by the Holy Spirit, is tuned to the deeper frequency of the gospel's indomitable joy.
An heart wide open speaks freely -- and love comes out.
At the end of every Middletown Springs worship service, after we've corporately prayed a blessing over our community and sung The Doxology, I dismiss my congregation with these words: "I love you." Why? Well, because I love my church! I look at them and I can't help saying it. But I make it a discipline to say "I love you" so they know it's okay to say such things to people who aren't children or spouses, so they know their pastor -- who might have been challenging them or even rebuking them in the midst of proclaiming the gospel to them -- is doing so out of love, and so they will have a reference point for the freeness I feel to cry, laugh, walk around, yell, whisper, and all the other sorts of things that may be involved in exulting in the Scriptures. Over the last year or so, I've started to hear the call back "We love you too" from a few corners. They are widening their hearts also.