It is a troubling situation at best when a person you know professes to be in a relationship with Christ, yet continues to harbour a hard heart toward someone or something. Hardness of heart is not just a situation that occurs within our own heart, but also happens with in the hearts of those around us. When I posed this situation to others at my church, the typical response was to attempt to break the will and cold spirit of other people in order to force them into a companionate state of being. This seems to be the most illogical response to someone who is hard hearted.
When we look to the scriptures to see how Christ addressed the issue of hard-heartedness, we might begin to look in the third chapter of the gospel of Mark.
1 Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. 2And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. 3And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” 4And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. 5And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. Mark 3:1-5 (ESV)
I am continually impressed by the ability that Jesus had to teach others without confronting them harshly. He was exceedingly able to educate people as to the important issues of life. Though the Israelite people based their entire existence on the law, they had forgotten the true value of their neighbor. Jesus was educating these people who opposed Jesus valued the law over the life of another person, He educated them by re-focusing them on the true nature of the law.
Jesus’ decision to heal on the Sabbath was not a radical and controversial attack on all those who opposed him. Instead, it was a way to help them understand the true nature of the law, and reveal the heart of the Father who gave the law in the first place. To know Jesus is to know the Father.
To soften our own heart is a difficult process…but it is one that we must do if we hope to have relationship with Jesus.