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Sunday, November 1, 2020

The Danger of a Hardened Heart

One temptation we must be very careful to avoid is that of ranking sins. Though there are various passages in both the New Testament and the rest of the Hebrew Bible, it is God who is the lawgiver judge, even in these same passages. Ranking sins is dangerous because it leads to callousness.

This morning, we will be talking about the dangers of a hardened heart. One way our hearts can grow calloused is through the ranking of sins. It is very easy to look at the sins of someone else and compare them with my own. I can see all the hate in someone else's actions, I can hear it in their voice, I can see evil in their choices they make and the life they live. When I compare their life with mine, I know that I sin a lot less often and a lot less severe. My sins are oversights, mistakes, or being caught up in the moment. My sins are just little things I need to work on. Other people out-rank me in the sin department by a long shot!

If these were my true thoughts, this would be a sign that I have a hardened heart. These are the thoughts of a heart that has grown accustomed to its own sin. Blind to it, or even comfortable with it because that sin is different than someone else's. Therefore, I can sit in judgement of the others because I can rank my own sin as something little. I am calloused to the pain my sin once caused me.

Another result of this hardening of the heart is that one's heart no longer hurts for others. This hard heart views the world through the lens of the sins that others have committed. Through their own mistakes, their crimes, or their sins against God many people have made their own lives and the lives of those around them more difficult. A hard heart turns a blind eye and a deaf ear to the suffering of others.

Yes, in many ways we can bring suffering upon ourselves through our own sinful choices. But Jesus went to those very people that were fallen in their sins and He loved them. When challenged about this outrageous response to sinners, Jesus turns to Scripture: "I desire mercy, not sacrifice." (Matt. 9:13, Hosea 6:6).

Be merciful.

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