The soft heart can be equated with the Spirit, while the hard heart can be equated with the law. Spirituality can be simplified down to whether a person is operating from a soft or hard heart.
Life generally is a good thing initially, but as bad experiences continue to appear, the heart tends to take evasive action to avoid being hurt. This is the “shell” that people develop. This hard shell can be addressed by revealing the cause and effect problem from which it originates.
It is said that pain is the price we pay for love. Love is God’s “go to” point, it is what he is and what he wants from people.
Spiritually speaking, the heart is hardened by “sin”, which is bible speak for doing wrong. Because we are made in such a way as to recognise right and wrong, especially in western countries with sophisticated justice and education systems, and where also Christianity is dominant, people are familiar with guilt because of wrongdoing.
The problem is that once having entered into this system of knowing right and wrong through many sources including parents, school, church, and state “law”, the conscience becomes “darkened” because there is no commonly given answer as to how to cleanse the conscience and then to maintain that cleansing.
Enter Christianity. The Judaistic sacrificial system as extended into Christianity, makes Christ the subject and object of sin’s outcome. We see both sin AND guilt taken by him, within his body, thereby relieving man of his fear of it and his obligation to it. The system of law that enabled it, was also dismantled by his death.
This “divine transaction” brings to our attention that the highest authority in the universe has himself absorbed the consequences of the actions of his creative power having created sinful man in the first place.
He has removed all matters pertaining to sin, guilt, and death, BECAUSE he is not interested in death (of which there is plenty) but only in LIFE. And that life is himself in the form of LOVE.
Portraying Jesus on the cross as his son as a sacrifice for our misdoings, regardless that we were perhaps inferior creatures in the first place, it was still us that committed these things and that does still make us responsible. This opens up to the notion of gratitude towards him, and the recognition of his love for us.
Thereby the heart is softened as it accepts release from sin and death, and if the acknowledgement of what life really means is allowed to enter the heart and mind, continuation of operation from this new “soft” heart condition is maintained. Whereas REJECTION of that loving truth that softens the heart, will further HARDEN the heart.
Since sin existed in our lives, and our experience proved to us our propensity to sin and that sin was continually added to that life experience, we have lived with that hardness which is because of the acknowledgement of a law of right and wrong, of good and bad. We therefore live under a judgment of guilty. If we deny HIM, then we deny ourselves his mercy, and proclaim our desire to live under law instead of grace. The greater the condemnation we feel, the harder will our heart react against it.
The “good” heart will recognise and accept God and the release from guilt and the freedom this brings to enable real life to then be lived, not to mention that this “real” life is promised to last into infinity.
The Spirit can only partner with a soft heart, which is immune from the condemnation of the law, because the Spirit brings life, whereas the law brings death, because the law speaks against those things we have done without recognising Christ’s sacrifice which effectively removed those things FOR US. The law brings death but does not introduce life.
[“For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did”]