Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Hardness of Heart

A “hardness of heart” principle applies to the role of judges when dealing with crime. Although adultery was listed as a crime in the Law of Moses, this law was not enforced by Moses.

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning (Matt 19:8).
Moses did not enforce the law against adultery, because the people’s hearts were hard. There were so many people committing adultery that applying biblical sanctions would have been unacceptable. God does not want his law to be enforced on a society that is opposed to it.

If a law is constantly being disobeyed, the authority of the entire law will be undermined. If adultery were widespread, a law against it would become a joke. Far better, to put the law against adultery on hold until society changed.

If a law is being ignored, it is better for judges to stop enforcing that law. This is what Moses did. Instead of undermining respect for the law by trying to enforce a law against the adultery that the people did not want, he chose not to enforce it.

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