What the Bible Says About a Hardened Heart
A heart that is hardened has lost the ability to feel compassion, love, and
empathy. A person with a hardened heart may not respond even to the most
appalling conditions and may indifferent to the plight of others. The Bible
has a great deal to say about hardening one’s heart.
In the Old Testament, Pharaoh is a classic example of someone whose heart
was hardened. God repeatedly sent plagues and other signs to convince
Pharaoh to let his people go, but Pharaoh’s heart was so hardened that he
refused. As a result, God brought even more severe judgments on Egypt. In the
end, Pharaoh and his army were drowned in the Red Sea as they tried to pursue
Another example is found in the book of Esther. Haman was filled with hatred
for Mordecai and all the Jews, and he devised a plan to have them all killed.
King Ahasuerus unknowingly signed a decree ordering their destruction. But
Esther interceded with the king on behalf of her people, and Ahasuerus issued
a new decree nullifying Haman’s evil plot. When Haman saw that his plan had failed, “he was filled with rage” (Esther 5:9). His anger led him to devise another scheme against Mordecai and the Jews, but this too was thwarted. Finally, “when Haman saw that Esther had interceded again on behalf of Mordecai … his rage was so great that he stood in front of the royal throne with a knife in his hand” (Esther 7:7). At this point, Ahasuerus finally realized Haman’s evil intentions and had him hanged on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai.
The book of Hebrews warns believers not to harden their hearts: “See that you do not refuse him who speaks … take care that you do not despise him … Harden not your hearts … For if we sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 12:25-26).
The Consequences of a Hardened Heart
A hardened heart is not just a stiff upper lip or a lack of emotion. It’s a biblical term with real consequences. In the Bible, the heart is more than just a muscle that pumps blood. It’s the center of your decision making — the place where your thoughts, emotions, and will come together. So when your heart hardens, it affects every area of your life.
A hard heart doesn’t just happen overnight. It’s a process that happens slowly over time as we repeatedly sin and refuse to repent. With each act of disobedience, our hearts become a little harder and a little more calloused. And as our hearts harden, we become less and less sensitive to God and His Spirit working in our lives. We begin to ignore His promptings and our consciences become seared (1 Timothy 4:2).
Eventually, a hardened heart will lead to spiritual blindness and rebellion (Isaiah 6:9-10). We’ll rationalize our sin and convince ourselves that we’re not doing anything wrong — even when everyone around us can see that we are. We’ll stubbornly cling to our own way of doing things and refuse to yield to God’s authority in our lives.
A hardened heart is dangerous because it leads us further and further away from God — until we eventually find ourselves in danger of His judgment (Ezekiel 22:18-22). But it doesn’t have to be this way! If you’ve allowed your heart to harden, there is still hope for you. God is waiting with open arms, ready to forgive you if you’ll only repent and turn from your sin (Ezekiel 18:21-23). So don’t wait another day — surrender your hardened heart to Him today!
How to Prevent a Hardened Heart
You can prevent a hardened heart by repenting of your sin and turning to God. When you do this, you will receive His forgiveness and cleansing. You will also be given a new heart—one that is soft and receptive to Him. Here are some things you can do to keep your heart soft:
-Read the Bible daily and meditate on its truths.
-Pray often, pouring out your heart to God.
-Obey God’s commands and follow His ways.
-Confess your sins to Him and ask for His forgiveness.
-Resist Satan’s temptations and flee from evil.
-Serve God with a willing and obedient heart.
-Give thanks to the Lord for His blessings in your life.