Hard or Soft?

A reading for Wednesday, April 9, 2014: Mark 10:1-16.

How is the firmness of your heart? Is it hard or soft?

To describe someone as hard hearted is to be unfeeling, heartless, cold or callous. People that are hard hearted are incapable of compassion or sympathy towards others. They might even lack emotion or be mean spirited.

On the other hand, someone that is soft hearted is tender, gentle and sympathetic. We would describe them as humane or compassionate towards others, especially those that are weak or in need of special treatment.

Jesus is asked a question by the Pharisees, who are trying to catch him in some error or controversy so that they might discredit him and his message. They ask him about divorce. Is it lawful to divorce?

Jesus tells them that because they are hard hearted, incapable of compassion or sympathy, Moses allowed for divorce. Said another way, because you are so unfeeling and callous towards those that are weak among you or in need of special treatment, Moses had to create a way to protect them from you.

Women in the ancient world had no rights outside of their husbands. A woman cast aside by her husband had no protection and no way to care for herself. So because men were unfeeling and callous (hard hearted) about the needs of women in society, according to Jesus, Moses provided the system of divorce to allow for some protection.

But in the end, that's not the way God intended it to be. God intended for men and women to demonstrate love and grace towards one another and to live in harmony as one flesh. God hoped for soft hearts and not hard hearts.

To make the point then, Jesus welcomes little children into his presence. Perhaps the most soft hearted of all are small children, who only learn how to be hard hearted after we teach them to be so. Be like that, says Jesus.

How's the firmness of your heart?

Unfeeling, callous, cold and mean spirited...


Tender, gentle, sympathetic and compassionate especially towards the weak...

Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it."


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