The Secret to
Great Relationships

The Secret to Great Relationships

is one word:


~ ~ ~

In the Bible, God instructs us

to be tenderhearted.


God warns us not to be hard-hearted.

Those two terms are opposites.



is one of the key ingredients

in great relationships.



is one of the key ingredients

in the destruction of relationships.

This page has a Bible devotion
then prayer at the end.


Hardness separates. This is true for all relationships.

For example,

Hard-heartedness is the cause of almost every single divorce.

After a divorce,

we can do an autopsy and look back and see

that one or both of the spouses had developed a hard heart.

Jesus tells us this.

In Mark the 10th chapter, Jesus says that the reason for divorce is hard-heartedness. Every divorce has at least one hard heart.

If both husband and wife are tender toward God

and tender toward each other,

they will not get a divorce.

Mark 10 is just one of the many scriptures that shows the destructive power of hard-heartedness.

Since hard-heartedness is so destructive, it is easy to see that one of the most pressing needs in our churches is more teaching on the dangers of hard-heartedness.

Note that in this Bible devotion,

I am going to use the words

tenderheartedness and gentleness


One of my favorite Bible verses is Psalm 18:35 KJV.

In that psalm David wrote,

“Thy gentleness hath made me great.”

I believe that David is expressing a gold nugget of truth that he had learned.

David is saying that following God and becoming gentle -

 like God -  

positioned him for great things.

Notice that 2 Samuel 22:36 also has those same words. 

Philippians 4:5 NKJV says,

“Let your gentleness be known to all men.

Ephesians 4:32 NKJV says,

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted,
forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

 Proverbs 28:14 The Message says,

“A tenderhearted person lives a blessed life;
a hardhearted person lives a hard life.”


Many television shows and movies project the idea that being gentle and tenderhearted means that you are weak.

That is simply not true.

Jesus was gentle and tenderhearted

and yet

there is no one stronger

than our Lord Jesus. 


Jesus was a

strong, firm,

powerful leader.


Next, I am going to share an illustration about the weakness created when people harden their heart:

Go back through your memory banks and recall times when you have seen a hard-hearted person struggle to admit that he or she was wrong.

When I've seen that happen, or attempt to happen, the person appears to be so overcome with fear and anxiety that it looks like you are observing a weak wimp attempting to push a 1,000 pound ball up a hill. The apology is just too heavy for them. 

However, a tenderhearted person can move that ball up the hill with one finger. This is because tenderhearted people realize that admitting that they are wrong is an important step in creating a great relationship with God and with others.

Also consider visiting:
Creating a Great Relationship with yourself

The above illustration points out that:

“Being wrong terrifies most hard-hearted people.” 

God has clear warnings to people he calls



 I want to be clear

that no one is totally tenderhearted.

The Bible teaches us that every one of us

needs to break up

hard areas in our heart.


That being said, how do we, as individuals, tell if God would consider us a tenderhearted person or a  hard-hearted person?

The Bible tells us that we will be known

by our fruit.

I suggest that we look at the fruit of hard-heartedness and the fruit of tenderheartedness to decide.

Fruits of

Here are a few of the fruits of Hard-heartedness.

Hard-hearted Fruit:  People with hard-hearted fruit are generally stubborn and controlling. They rarely or never say the words “I'm sorry. ”  They rarely say, “I was wrong.” They rarely compliment others. They are selfish and lack compassion and empathy. They are not easily teachable. They are not visibly growing spiritually. They refuse to change. They give gifts that reflect their interests instead of the interests of the person receiving the present. They expect everyone to live by their rules and their preferences. They do not encourage individual differences. And they live by the motto:  “I don't have to so I'm not going to.”

Even if you do not recognize any of those traits, I remind you that every one of us has areas of hardness in our heart that God wants us to allow him to break up.  

Certain life circumstances can be used by the enemy of our soul to cause significant hardness to enter our heart. Pain from our childhood is one way this happens.

All of us have wounds from our childhood. Some of us have covered those wounds with crustiness and made our heart hard.

Emotional pain during an adult relationship is another way this happens. For example, experiencing the pain of a mate cheating will tempt a person to harden his or her heart.

Note that when a heart is hardened under those circumstances, that hardness oftentimes spills over into other relationships as well.

Creating a Hard Heart

Certain behaviors produce hardness.

Here are a few of the behaviors that produce hardness or protect a heart from softening:


  • Glamorizing sin (in our mind) leads to hardness
    Many television shows and movies glamorize sin.
  • Admiring worldly entertainers and making them heroes
  • Not listening to others
  • Never giving in to others
  • Not pondering God's word – for example -  at church, you just let God's words flow over you without thinking about the words
  • Devaluing the wisdom of the Bible
  • Devaluing how destructive sin is in your life
  • Neglecting personal prayer
  • Doubting the Bible.
    Doubting the Bible leads to hardness. Remember that the serpent came to Eve and said “Did God really say.....? ”  When we doubt the Bible, we are doubting that God really said what the Bible tells us, or we are doubting that God really meant what he said in the Bible.

 We must renew our mind in order to soften hard areas in our heart.

Fruits of 

What kind of fruit do tenderhearted people produce?

I'm going to list some traits that can be found in tenderhearted people.

Take note that no one is totally tenderhearted all the time.


Tenderhearted fruit:

People with tenderhearted fruit are considerate, polite, thoughtful, and kind. They have compassion and empathy for others. They allow others to have their own opinions. They listen to others. They listen nicely to others. They do unto others as they would have others do unto them. They display the gifts of the spirit which are found in Galatians 5:22-23.


The New King James Version

lists the fruit of the spirit as:

Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, and self-control.
Galatians 5:22-23



When people are tender toward God,

they seek to follow his commands.


People who neglect to develop a
warm, tender relationship with God,
can easily view God's rules as unnecessary.

But when our relationship with God develops so that
we grow to respect and admire God,
his rules are seen as boundaries to protect us and guide us
to become all we can be.


God explains what he wants for all of us in Ezekiel. In fact he repeats this two separate times in Ezekiel – that would be Ezekiel 11:19 and Ezekiel 36:26.

God says in those verses that he wants to take out the stubborn hearts of stone from our bodies and give us obedient hearts of flesh.

Ezekiel 36:26 New Century Version says,

Also, I will teach you to respect me completely, and

I will put a new way of thinking inside you.

I will take out the stubborn hearts of stone

from your bodies, and

I will give you obedient hearts of flesh.

We also see that basic idea reflected in Philippians 1:9 NLT.

This verse is actually a prayer that Paul prayed. This prayer is for you and me.

 “I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.

For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ - for this will bring much glory and praise to God.”

Isn't that a great prayer for us?

DISC Personality

At this time, I want to add some relevant information about the DISC personality styles. I have a seminary degree, and I am an expert in DISC personality information.

I have several Bible devotions with DISC insights listed on the Bible devotion page of this website.

Simple Introduction to DISC

There are four main personality styles. The “D”, the “I”, the “S”, and the “C” style.

 The “D” style is - Dominant, Direct, Decisive, Demanding, Doer.

This style is more prone to have obvious problems with hard-heartedness than the other three styles. But I have great encouragement to share. I personally know many “Ds” who have developed a tender heart, and they are the most powerful and dynamic “Ds” in the world.

If you are a “D”, I want you to know that God doesn't want to change your natural “D” traits, but he does want to make sure that you have them under control. God wants you to be powerful and strong. The truth is that being hard-hearted  is actually being weak.

God wants to give you a vision of a powerful and tenderhearted leader who has his “D” traits under control. 

You can learn to be the under control “D” that God is guiding you to be.

I encourage everyone reading this page to consider getting my book
Praying for your Child.

This book is not just for parents. It is a great book to help anyone understand the four personality styles.

Note that learning about DISC,

can help the "Ds"

to stop alienating themselves from those

they love and those they work with.

A Great Testimony

A man called me one day and said that he had gone through our DISC training, and he had a story to tell me.

He told me that he was a “D” personality style. He then explained that he was the head of a department in a large company. He said that before he had DISC training, everyone in his department was trying to transfer out of his department. A few months after DISC training, the situation had become just the opposite – meaning people in other departments were trying to transfer into his department.

He was amazed at how much more successful he had become after DISC training.

This man was a “D” personality style, but it is important to add that:

“Ds” are not the only people who need to

break up the hardness in their heart.

We all have hard areas that we desperately need to break up.

We all need to become more like Jesus.

I invite you to join me in the following prayer.

for Developing

King of Creation and Lord of my Life,

Powerful is your name. Mighty are your deeds. Yet your gentleness welcomes me to come and sit close to you.

Lord, I have knowingly and I have unknowingly come against your will and your ways. I have spoken words of total surrender to you, and yet I have been so ready to protect myself from godly advice and godly change. I have been so ready to defend myself against humility.

God, you were not careless in how you drew the lines of morality; may I not be careless in how I interpret your commands.

Forgive me for the parts of me that resist you – the parts of me that rebel against you. I have had thoughts and actions that were not pleasing to you. I have had attitudes that were not honoring of you.

Forgive me.

May I grow to understand how valuable tenderheartedness really is and may I feel your pleasure when I display it.


Copyright © 2005 by Beth McLendon of

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Marriage Prayers to Fall in Love All Over Again

For all our Devotions on Marriage see: Bible Devotions

For all our Prayers see: Prayers for all Occasions

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