At this month’s MOPs meeting, our leader spoke to us about relationships; specifically marital problems leading to divorce. She quoted this verse:
“Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. (Matthew 19:8)
Next, she introduced a licensed counselor who modeled open communication and validating responses to relationship issues. The guidelines given would ultimately help soften our hearts towards our spouses. It was very helpful and appreciated.
Hard hearts are not just only a marriage/divorce/spouse issue; however. It’s a human issue and affects every part of our lives.
What makes a hard heart?
- Hard labor and despair. “So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor; they fell down, with none to help. (Psalm 107:12)
- Our own stubbornness and disobedience. “They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the Lord of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great anger came from the Lord of hosts.” (Zechariah 7:12)
- Pride. “But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was brought down from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him.” (Daniel 5:20)
- Ignorance and fear. “And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.” (Mark 6:51-52)
- Sin. “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13)
- Being unsaved. “But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. (2 Corinthians 3:16)
… “Hearts either harden, shatter or soften.”–Dr. Ravi Zacharias
“He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their heart,
lest they see with their eyes,
and understand with their heart, and turn,
and I would heal them.”
How can we soften our hearts?
- See. Recognize that there is a problem. A heart problem. My heart problem. We (I) do not love God as we (I) should and this affects all our (my) relationships. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deuteronomy 6:5)
- Understand. Know that it is my own sin and desires that lead me away from God and thus, from others. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4: 12)
- Turn. Turn to God. He will not turn you (me) away. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
- He Heals. “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26)
For further study/reading:
Deuteronomy 4:9, Deuteronomy 4:29, Isaiah 57