Mark 10:2 Some Pharisees came, and to test (Jesus) they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 3 He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” 4 They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.” 5 But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. 6 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7 ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Interesting exchange here on the topic of divorce. The Pharisees are correct that the law of Moses made allowance for divorce. But Jesus points out the reason why, “Because of your hardness of heart…”. I’ve not personally been through divorce as a spouse, but I have as a dependent child and as a pastor accompanying people through the painful process of divorce. From what I have observed, “hardness of heart” is an apt description of what can happen between spouses when a marriage breaks down. People tend to assume the worst of the other. Forgiveness gives way to judgment. The tenderness of affection is lost to the pain of betrayal. Accusations fly back and forth so the heart responds by shielding itself from the other.
But just because I’ve not personally experienced divorce doesn’t mean my heart is immune from hardness. Grief, loss, disappointment all lead me to put up walls on the inside. For my protection. And while I intend this hardened state to be temporary, in some ways it has become a way of life. Reminds me of an old Simon and Garfunkel song, “I am a rock”:
And a rock feels no pain. And an island never cries.
Gracious Lord we are all broken on the inside. Send your Spirit to break through the hardness of our hearts. Heal us from the pain of grief and loss and disappointment. Soften us towards you and one another. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.