(Proverbs 28:14 KJV) Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.
A very real threat to my eternal soul is a tendency to “harden” (7185) my “heart” (3820). It is the natural result of raising our defenses to attack. On one level having defenses is good, on another it is destructive. This is referring to the destructive way in which a healthy defense can morph into a rigid rejection.
We see this demonstrated in our personal relationships. Someone criticizes us. It could be a spouse or a co-worker. The person criticizing may genuinely not think of it as criticism, but we feel it in our gut. The first level is to grab hold of our emotions. It is the second step that causes the benefit or harm. We can take what is said and prayerfully consider it. That involves setting the emotional soup aside and looking for truth. That enables us to learn and grow. Or we can automatically reject what is said, put up unsurmountable walls and go on the attack.
That leads to “calamity” (7463a).
So? When you feel that inner defense rising it is time to grab hold, step back and look for the nugget of truth that might be hiding in the mud. Hard but important.