Earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
1 Corinthians 12:31
A disclaimer before reading: this is not a Jane Seymour bashing post! I admire her work and the efforts of the Open Hearts foundation. I am not critical of those wearing her jewelry or joining her cause. What follows is simply the challenge of a higher calling ~ a more excellent way.
A few years ago, Jane Seymour introduced a signature jewelry line called, Open Hearts. The premise behind her unique design is, “Keep your heart open, and love will always find its way in.”
The design is unique and highly successful. More important than business success, though, is how she is using her concept to inspire others to join the Open Hearts community of followers, those who demonstrate they have embraced the philosophy of selfless giving even in the face of adversity. Ms. Seymour best summarizes the idea:
“When you’re going through a challenge, instead of taking it all inside, if you open your heart, accept what’s happened, open up and in some way help someone else – you have a unique opportunity to have a purpose in life and to make a difference.” (Living With an Open Heart)
I applaud Ms. Seymour for her noble efforts. The Open Hearts foundation is a very worthy endeavor.
I started thinking about their concept, though, of whether by opening up and helping others, love will always find its way in, and the foundation’s message that, when your heart is open it can never stay broken. A lovely design and wonderful idea, but is it always true?
Helping others does tend to empower one to push beyond the pain of their circumstances, and many people have derived a sense of purpose by doing so, using the adversity they suffered as the impetus for moving forward in life. Don’t get me wrong. I am not proposing that this idea is of no value; it is, and a whole lot better than the hateful acts daily displayed around the world. However, an open heart does not equate with love always finding its way back in.
Selfless endeavors, while worthwhile, do not in and of themselves guarantee a return of love. It does feel good to do good deeds for others; it does give one purpose to show sacrificial love. However, efforts to demonstrate love, in hopes of it filling the longing within every heart for love, fall short. Sadly, loving deeds do not always translate into love.
Plenty of loving people are lonely and empty, because the bestowing of unconditional love does not necessarily fill one with love. If the opening of the heart were all required, then the only lonely people should be the Ebenezer Scrooges. Those out there trying to make a difference in the world should have crowds of followers and friends, and lives satiated with contentment. But this is not always the case.
Just as merely keeping one’s heart open is no guarantee that love will enter, there is also no assurance that by doing so a broken one will never recur. Selfless giving does help one look beyond their own hurts, and instead reach out. However, it also renders one vulnerable to hurt, rejection and more pain. As humans, none of us are so loving that we are completely resilient to assaults against the heart, and there are always going to be individuals who do unloving deeds to us. Opening up one’s heart, though courageous, does not guarantee against a broken one; it can be an invitation for just that.
Simply having an open heart, as demonstrated by reaching out to others, offers no assurance that love will always find its way in or no longer stay broken. Only a heart open to God can find such love. His agape love is the only type that is truly unconditional. Unlike human love, His can heal any brokenness. Only His love will never fail.
My goal in writing this is not to criticize Jane Seymour. I admire her valiant efforts to encourage acts of selfless giving. I wish that there were more in this world with her kind heart for others.
Without the love of the Christ being the center of such efforts, though, they will fall short of providing the doers of such, and those to whom they are bestowed, the promise of real love finding its way in. Since God is love (1 John 4:8), only His heart is always open, only He can satisfy our longing for love within. When we invite Him into our hearts, we find the kind of love that stays, and can then offer others the only hope of love this world has.
For similar posts, go to From His Heart