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The hard-hearted listener is cynical. Often they have done a fair amount of research to support their unwillingness to hear the word. Or they may have had a personal trauma that left them without faith.


There is a woman in New York City that I counseled during a particularly difficult time in her life. When the tragedy happened that she hoped to ward off with prayer, she decided there was no God. I occasionally hear from a mutual friend that she wants me to know that she still doesn’t believe in God. The fact that it still bothers her enough to keep sending me that message makes me think that maybe she isn’t really a hard-hearted listener.


With a hard-hearted listener, words don’t work. Only actions carry any weight with them. To break down that hard heart, kindness and not sermons are the thing needed. As St. Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the Gospel at all times, when necessary use words.”


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