The accusation Jesus makes against the Pharisees is not that they have beliefs that are incorrect, but that they have sklērokardía, “hardness of heart” (Matthew 19:18; Mark 10:5), an unwillingness to hear others’ needs with compassion.
Sklērokardía literally means “dry heart,” a heart unwatered by love, shrunken and shriveled, dried up until it becomes hard and unyielding, likelier to respond to others’ pain with callousness and unthinking cruelty than with compassion.
What did Christ come for:
Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.John 3:7
I find it to easy to condemn rather than have compassion.
How do you find hardness of heart vs incorrect beliefs on your schedule of things to condemn?
I heard an excellent definition of “evil” – it is the absence of empathy. That sounds like what Jesus was accusing his detractors of.
Stephen R. is absolutely correct that closed-mindedness is the great evil of our time. Far too many people these days are not willing to learn.
The great hordes of the public have taken the easy way out. That way is to think only about themselves and not about others. Instead of reading books about the ideas of others and getting out among them, the hordes spend their time sitting around in sweatpants and crocs on their computers or phones alone in basements. Violent video games and funny cat videos have taken the place of learning about other people.
This self-centered attitude has led to an attack on religious values. Because the masses have embraced pleasure over sacrifice for the good of the whole, they attack religious organizations for preaching self-restraint. Not only do the hordes fail to see the viewpoint of the pious, they condemn the pious and attack them.
Elder Holland, are you listening?
There was a recent Slate podcast interview (IIRC) positing “Maybe cruelty was the point all along” regarding the current GOP platform. It must have been an interview with Adam Serwer who wrote the book The Cruelty Is the Point about what is appealing about Trump’s style to so many American voters. He illustrates that the cruelty that came to the surface during the Trump presidency, and the total callousness toward people of color, immigrants, women, LGBT, etc. among today’s conservatives, are an inevitable manifestation of things in our founding that have been simmering ever since the inception of the US. I haven’t read his book yet, but maybe I will.
I found it shocking to hear people (when we in the grip of the pandemic) suggest that “people die all the time, so?” It’s also shocking to hear that Texas, after requiring women, including girls who are minors, to go through with unwanted pregnancies (making no exception for the health of the mother, viability of the fetus, or situations of rape or incest) and emboldening their rapists and abusers to profit from it if they attempt an abortion, have officially said that women should just say no to sex then, as if women are the problem and their punishment is forced motherhood. Personally, I have found it shocking to hear conservatives show up at school districts in my state armed with zip ties because they object to mask mandates for students. And I found it shocking that anyone thought it was OK to treat an LGBT couple with contempt when they tried to buy goods just like anybody else in the public sphere. It’s not just civility. It’s treating people with no empathy whatsoever.
“ A religious party among the Jews. The name denotes separatists. They prided themselves on their strict observance of the law and on the care with which they avoided contact with things gentile. Their belief included the doctrine of immortality and resurrection of the body and the existence of angels and spirits. They upheld the authority of oral tradition as of equal value with the written law. The tendency of their teaching was to reduce religion to the observance of a multiplicity of ceremonial rules and to encourage self-sufficiency and spiritual pride. They were a major obstacle to the reception of Christ and the gospel by the Jewish people. For the Lord’s judgment on them and their works see Matt. 23; Mark 7; Luke 11:37–54.
Throughout the scriptures, Jesus noticed and sought out those ostracized or condemned by others.
His harshest words were directed toward the Pharisees.
“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
“A new heart also will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26
How on earth can anyone downvote JCS on this? He is spot on when he says that the general public does not investigate important issues and rarely considers how people on the other side of the aisle feel about things.
Lois, I would look elsewhere than the material you cited as your source is frequently unreliable.The Pharisees were the progenitors of modern Judaism, and some became followers of Jesus, including Paul. In fact, some scholars maintain that Jesus himself was a Pharisee, because their main methodfort arriving at the truth was disputation, and Jesus is shown to use that method expertly.
Yes. Paul was a Pharisee, and Pharisees believed in resurrection. But that doesn’t change Jesus’ criticism of Pharisees. He viewed them as hypocrites.
See Matthew 23:23
@AngelaC, your comment is why I’m so puzzled by all the Trump flags flying in my neighborhood (some still) and MAGA hats at youth activities. Like, I get the hold-your-nose-and-vote-for-the-R attitude for voting on party lines. I do not understand the actual enthusiasm – by really kind and generous people – for such a cruel person. And I didn’t form my opinions about Trump’s cruelty on CNN or the NY Times. I formed them watching him – direct from the source. All of your other examples are spot-on as well and so baffling / discouraging.
I think a lot about the scriptures / prophesies that get quoted a lot in GC about “men’s hearts failing them” and people calling good evil and evil good. That’s often used in the context of attacking things like gay marriage and just overall increasing “immorality”. But I think it’s much more applicable to what Angela is describing. And conflating a list of shared statements of belief for unity and love and goodness and morality is not working in our congregations IMO.
@Ivy, maybe it’s all the crazy cat video lovers downvoting JCS. And his propensity to just basically throw most of humanity under the bus
I had a brief conversation today with an active LDS man that I admire. He said that he tuned into AM talk radio while he was driving thru Utah County just to hear what the conspiracy theorists are saying, so he can be ready with replies. He turned it off after 15 minutes, appalled. An observation he made is that in order to believe conspiracy theories, you have to have the most negative and hateful view of humanity imaginable. You have to believe that countless people are lying – doctors, nurses, every mainstream journalist, everyone who says Covid causes suffering and vaccines work. It’s a level of paranoia and blame that poisons everything.
My father was a conspiracy theorist before the Internet existed. He was always prophesying that society was on the brink of destruction. Frequently, events proved him wrong. Rather than readjusting his mindset, he just found something else toxic to believe. Underneath it all was an eagerness, almost an enjoyment, of hating people. Not just specific people – but entire groups of people that he had ‘othered’ as evil and he was waiting with vindictive pleasure for their downfall. He wanted their destruction, to prove himself right. It’s a very difficult mindset to encounter in someone you have to live with.
It’s the opposite of charity and love. Hoping bad things happen to people you disagree with is not at all Christlike.
I’ve had to work on the ‘love your enemy’ thing. I don’t want to end up like him. I still get angry at people, and frustrated with certain mindsets, but I try not to wish death and destruction upon them. I don’t respect their opinions and I think they’re doing real damage. But I don’t want them destroyed – just that they’ll see the error of their ways, or at least be quiet.
You know . . . my comment is probably more aspirational than absolute. I wish I didn’t harbor as much anger as I do, but I admit that when I hear that a Covid-denier and anti-vaxxer/masker has died of Covid19, I don’t waste much sympathy on them. ‘Loving your enemies’ is hard. I don’t have much empathy for people who prolong the pandemic.