Years ago my daughters collected little stuffed bears called “care bears.” Of all the various ones they had, the two that I’ve always remembered are  “Tenderheart Bear” and “True Heart Bear.”  Adjectives connected to the heart are powerful metaphors that can accurately describe a person’s deep inner condition. Consider the following descriptions of the heart and the images they bring to mind: cold hearted, hard hearted, shallow hearted, and mean hearted, versus kind hearted and tender hearted. Then there are also the lonely hearted, broken hearted, and bleeding hearted. But of all the various types of hearts people can have, God desires us to be  whole hearted

One of the most common traits of those who are “whole hearted” is that they have a strong sense of self worth, a feeling that comes from knowing we are truly loved and belong. People want and need deep solid connections of love and belonging but we often fail to achieve it because of shame. What is shame? At its root it is the fear of loss of human connection. The path to ridding ourselves of shame and becoming whole hearted requires courage, compassion, and vulnerability. We must be open hearted so we can “bear one another’s burdens,” and also have others bear ours. How else but through courage, compassion, and vulnerability could we ever confess our sins one to another, forgive one another, and truly love one another?

Healing the heart of shame happens when we expose the areas where it resides to the light. Don’t make the mistake of sharing your heart with others who have not earned the right to hear your story, those who are not worthy of your trust. God warns us to not cast our pearls before swine. Seek out that one person who will walk with you through the deep muck of your life, with empathy, not in judgment and condescension. Then you will be well on your journey to becoming whole hearted.