The Unbelievable Hardness of the Human Heart
Posted by justicetabernacle on May 13, 2011
i remember once when i was in middle school- i came across the story of the rich man and lazarus in the bible. i could not believe it! it agitated me… after i finished reading it, i immediately called my aunt, who i thought would be the best person to ask about such a perplexing passage. i recall anxiously grilling her on how in the world this could be true? how could it be that people would not come to believe the ‘truth’ if a person came back from the dead to explain everything: that there was an afterlife and that there was a hell… and that we need to truly believe and trust in Christ…
i don’t remember exactly what her answer was, but it was something along the lines of understanding the hardness of our hearts as human beings. that if God does not awaken and soften our hearts, we can never really perceive Him and trust that He is good.
i have never truly been able to be settled on this point. i believe that it’s true- but something inside of me always wants to think: “if there was just more evidence, people would believe…” “if they could just really see what is to come, they would turn to God in repenetence…” but at the end of the day, i have to come to grips with the idea of God’s grace- and how He, in His mysterious plan, grants that to us. and that it is only through His grace; not our apologetics and pleas to people, that will cause them to cling back to Him.
and then- in my study on God’s wrath the past few weeks- i ran into this passage below. and again, the hardness of the human heart was so clearly and hauntingly displayed to me. the passage sits in the middle of the book of revelation, where the tormenting and plagues are being explained. and here, right in the middle of intense suffering, and a clear display of God’s power, sovereignty and wrath, we see people still refusing to repent. in a way it is unbelievable- right? how could they not be convinced in these moments? but nonetheless is a poignant reminder for us all- to check our pride, idoloatry, and the state of the hardness of our hearts… and pray for God’s grace.
revelation 9: 17-21 (boldness mine)
And in my vision, I saw the horses and the riders sitting on them. The riders wore armor that was fiery red and dark blue and yellow. The horses had heads like lions, and fire and smoke and burning sulfur billowed from their mouths. One-third of all the people on earth were killed by these three plagues—by the fire and smoke and burning sulfur that came from the mouths of the horses. Their power was in their mouths and in their tails. For their tails had heads like snakes, with the power to injure people.
But the people who did not die in these plagues still refused to repent of their evil deeds and turn to God. They continued to worship demons and idols made of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood—idols that can neither see nor hear nor walk! And they did not repent of their murders or their witchcraft or their sexual immorality or their thefts.