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Chapter 11. Divorce and Prejudice
In dealing with it in my own life, I realized how important it is for a Christian to deal with hardness of heart.
Step 1: Realize the importance of compassion
We must approach everything we do from the direction of compassion. When dealing with the woman caught in adultery, Jesus first showed compassion by telling her He didn’t condemn her, then judgment when He told her to sin no more. God is a God of compassion first, then judgment. When seeing others, we must have compassion for their behavior since before we were saved, we too were slaves to sin and/or circumstances. It is so hard to have compassion towards the fast-food worker, for example, who is rude or not helpful. Yet we don’t know what they are going through. I am concerned that the church has gotten away from compassion. We need times in God’s presence asking Him to reveal areas of hardness of heart and replace them with a compassionate heart. The mission of the church is to proclaim the Truth, but with compassion. We must do both or else it is very unbalanced to do only one. Compassion is the sign that we are obeying God’s command to love. Seems like the only group Jesus did not have compassion for were the Pharisees, the very group that should have known the most about the need for compassion, and yet had the least of it. This is an important lesson for us as believers, who should have the most compassion of all. You must have compassion. It is too much a part of God’s heart.
Step 2: Realize the destructiveness of hardness of heart
I believe hardness of heart is a major cause of divorce and prejudice. Hardness of heart happens when our thinking is wrong about a person, often a spouse or child, or a group, often those who think differently or look different from us. I’m convinced the only answer is rhema words for how to change our thinking. It doesn’t mean overlooking things that need to be addressed, but it does mean addressing the hardness. Hardness of heart is one of the things that often raised God’s righteous anger in the Old Testament. You do not want to let hardness of heart be in any area of your life. God’s rhema words will show how to look at a situation with compassion and what you personally are to do about that situation. You know you have succeeded when you feel love, not hardness, towards that person or group. (I believe the same approach applies to a crushed spirit (heart). Like hardness, a crushed spirit is a condition of the heart that must be addressed with rhema words of guidance.) God searches our heart to see if we have hardness of heart and if we are doing anything about it. [TOOL] A good starting point to eliminating hardness of heart is “recognize and refuse.” We are so in the habit of entertaining hardness of heart that it almost seems natural. Instead we must recognize it and refuse it, until that is our natural response. Then we can let God speak His rhema words that will show the next step.
You may still have to get a divorce since the will of the other person is involved. Ditto for whether a broken relation with a child can be restored. You should never have prejudice towards others since that should be eliminated whether others respond well or not.
So get to a place where you have compassion for all, and rhema words washing through your mind. That brings hope to marriages and an end to prejudice.
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