"grieved at their hardness of heart"

Jesus entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. And they watched him, to see whether he would heal him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him.

And he said to the man who had the withered hand, "Come here." And he said to them, "Is it lawful on the sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?" But they were silent.

And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart... (Mk 3.1-5)

The appearance of grief as a sign of God's love for us (when we turn from him) makes me think grief is also the feeling of love when we are parted from one another, through conflict or sin. I have often felt anger, or sometimes pity (which can so easily be just veiled contempt), when a relationship seem broken through what seems to be the wrongdoing of the other person. In this scene, Jesus feels anger at their wrong. But also grief. He hurts because of their hardness of heart; he wishes it were not so, that they had not turned themselves against him. He wants them with him.

If both people feel this grief, because of the love they have for one another, it may be the beginning of their reconciliation (like I wrote about in the last entry). But the other person may harden their heart against grief. We do not like to be hurt by others, and so often use anger or coldness to detach ourselves. Even if the other person doesn't grieve with us, though, our grief is an expression of our love for them. And I think it also connects us with God, who is certainly also grieved by our break, our separation from one another. So we can still find grace in our grief, union with God, source of the love that alone can unite us all.

Somehow I think the feeling of grief is also the best motivator for our own response, to do whatever we can to make reconciliation easier, and also to inspire in the other person the grief that leads to repentance.