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A Case of Hardened Hearts

He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.  Mark 3:5 NIV

a case of hardened heartsI wouldn’t want to show you my whole list of what angers me; it’s too long. But I’ll confess a few: drivers that ride my bumper when it’s raining and I’m already going five miles over the speed limit, people who mispronounce my name repeatedly, someone misperceiving something I’ve said or done, or discussions where I get told I’m wrong when I know good and well I’m right. Hmm, I’m detecting a theme. It’s all about me being insulted and misunderstood.

In the synagogue one day, Jesus felt and showed emotions of anger and sadness. It wasn’t because He felt disrespected or misunderstood. Instead, He sought to end a man’s suffering by restoring the man’s hand. And what kind of reaction did that raise in the observing, trying-to-catch-Jesus-in-wrong-doing religious leaders? They lacked compassion, and their focus was self-centered. Jesus saw the cause underneath their attitudes—a case of hardened hearts. Jesus was angry and sad. How different their lives could be if they opened their hearts to Him.

The good deed Jesus intended, He did, despite the critics. He didn’t retaliate, and He didn’t take responsibility for their disfavor.

The next time anger wells up in me, I am asking Jesus to help me look at whether it’s about being insulted or if it is about sadness at the hard hearts that need Him to change them.  

When you see actions stemming from hardened hearts, don’t retaliate against the critics. Continue in good deeds.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay and LubosHouska.)

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Anita van der Elst

Anita van der Elst finds joy in creating with words, believing God gifted her with the desire to do so. Married to her best friend, Edward, since 1976, she is a proud mom of four adult children and Oma to two of the most delightful grandchildren ever. Other joys in her life include bringing beauty to Facebook through photos she takes on her iPhone, facilitating a small women’s group at church, and mentoring a few friends who also desire to write.