I was mugged at the age of 17.

Some tough girls from a north Houston neighborhood saw a lone girl walking through their turf, and they targeted me. I knew something bad was about to happen, but I was one against many.

I had left my home in Tulsa to spend a couple of months with the biological father I had never known. That day I walked to a small convenience store, and my ignorance of the path I chose was paying negative dividends. After several blocks of trailing and tripping me, the girls circled around me. A few minutes later, I sat on the sidewalk, bruised and scared. They took my purse, a ring off my finger, and my money.

They also took something that had no monetary value, but which meant a great deal to me.

They robbed me of my sense of security.

You feel safe. Your world is founded on innocence. It’s not perfect, but life is a small place where a few people nurture you and love you.

And then it’s no longer safe. A thief has taken something from you.

Your innocence. 

Your security. 

Your sense of self.

Your faith in people.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. ~ (John 10:10 NIV)

The first part of this verse describes a very real enemy. His tactics are deceitful, and his motivation to harm . . . but then there’s the Jesus factor.

Jesus came that we may have life to the full.

As we celebrate Easter week it is with the understanding that Jesus willingly walked into a bed on nails to set us free from sin. . . but He didn’t stop there.

That same act on the cross also freed us from the effects of other’s sin upon our hearts and lives.

When I was mugged that hot Texas day, I wasn’t a fighter. If I could have “worked” my way out of that altercation, I might have had a chance, but in a brawl I simply lost. After my attackers left me, I ran from house to house.

Moments earlier, they had been occupied by residents peeking out of windows to see what was going on, but now no one answered their doors.

I learned two unhealthy lessons that day.

One: Run faster when you sense imminent danger. Two: If you are caught, no one will help you.

The Jesus factor turned those — and other — unhealthy lessons upside down.

The thief wants to say, “You are unloved, and no one sees you,” but God says, “LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me (Psalm 30:2 NIV).”

The thief wants to say, “No one cares,” but God says, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:5 NIV).”

All this week we’ll look at what it means to have a mended heart when a thief tries to steal your heart.

Read Chapter Six.

Share any questions you might have here, or prayer requests. If you underline something, tell us about it. Why did it speak to you?

Q: What unhealthy lessons have you learned from a thief?

Q: What was stolen from you?

Q: What might it look like to have life “to the full?”

The Mended Heart

Tomorrow we’ll hear Melissa’s story (shared in Chapter Six) and check in to see where she is now.

If you are just now joining us in #themendedheartstudy, it’s not too late. Every week is on the blog, and you can start at Week #1 and work through this at your own pace. Invite friends to join you.

You can find The Mended Heart: God’s Healing for Your Broken Place here or here.