A Judicial Hardening - The Warrior's Journey®

A Judicial Hardening

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

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“The disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Why do you speak to the people in parables?’ He replied, ‘Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. (Matthew 13:10-12)

A pastor from England told a story of his early days pastoring a church in Brooklyn, NYC. He explained that an elevated train ran just outside his bedroom window. During the first night he slept soundly – until midnight, when the train rushed past his window. The pastor fell out of bed from the thunderous noise, but soon went back to sleep. The second night the same thing happened, though this time he only sat up in bed. Again he went back to sleep. The third night, again the train woke him, but he only opened his eyes before falling back to sleep. On the fourth night, the train barely made him stir. By the fifth night, he began to sleep through the train’s noise.

The pastor made this observation. He stated that, if he had gotten up and made himself some tea after the train woke him on the first night, he’d have gotten into the habit of waking up for the train every time. But because he turned a deaf ear to the train, he learned to sleep through it.

The same concept applies to the voice of God. If we get in the habit of turning a deaf ear to God’s voice, we’ll learn to tune it out completely. Far worse, we’ll lose our capacity to hear or respond to God’s voice. In fact, if we habitually reject God’s truth, God (in judgment) will eventually withhold the truth from us. We find this process throughout the Bible (e.g. Romans 1:18-32). Theologians call it “judicial hardening.”

It took place in Jesus’ ministry as well. Because of growing opposition to His ministry and the peoples’ refusal to repent, Jesus began to reproach Israel and give stern warnings of judgment to come (Matthew 11:20-24; 12:14-45).

Then we come to Matthew 13. And as usual Jesus begins to teach the multitude. But this time, Jesus only tells a series of farming and fishing stories – without giving any spiritual interpretation to them. Only the disciples, when they approach Jesus privately, receive the deep truth hidden away in these stories. But this is a deliberate judgment. Jesus explains to His disciples that by only telling parables, He is withholding the truth which the outsiders have habitually rejected (Matthew 13:10-17).


Do you ever suppress God’s voice when He speaks to you or convicts you?

Do you realize you can lose your spiritual sense of hearing and your ability to respond to God by doing this?

Let’s train ourselves to listen and respond to God’s voice, above every voice.

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