The Ongoing Turning of My Heart

Guest post by Jackie Swann

Have you ever experienced this? You read a GroupMe post and you instantly feel your bloodrush to your head; your palms sweat and your heart rate accelerate in pure, unadulterated anger! I am embarrassed to say that experience has happened to me more than I would like to admit, whether it be an email, an article or a conversation. To be honest, this type of reaction was somewhat frequent in me pre-pandemic.

The post in question (which was NOT from a Generations thread) needed a response. What to do? I processed it with my husband, which led to the wisdom of going directly to the person and not entering the broader "fray". I processed some more with one of my sons, which led to more insight and hilarity; helped me to laugh at myself and reflect more.

I processed on it with my Lord in prayer which led me to His word for perfect wisdom. I found this passage in Colossians 3:12-15:

"Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful."

Compassion... kindness... humility... gentleness... patience... hmm.

I found this text very challenging to apply to this situation, but knew that it was the prescription I needed. I wrote an email to the person who had drawn my ire. Then, I split my computer screen and began to edit, putting my email on one side and this passage from Colossians on the other side.

Compassion... kindness... humility... gentleness... patience.

I had to delete a lot. I had to seek out new vocabulary. I had to change the entire tone of my message. As I edited and prayed and edited some more, my heart softened. I even found that compassion which Paul tells us to put on, creeping in to my heart.

Then I found God's living word creeping into other parts of my life. "Sheltering in place" gives us lots of together time. I have discovered Colossians 3 surfacing at home too where it has served me well.

Compassion... kindness... humility... gentleness... patience...

Did I mention patience?

I have memorized most of this passage now. I recite it often in my head as I go around my house praying through my reactions to things. God is so good. He is tuning my heart.
Ron and I have enjoyed singing hymns together of late. One of my favorites is below. It's an old hymn: Take Time to Be Holy. I read that W.D. Longstaff was inspired to write it by the teaching of Griffith John, a missionary to China in the early 1880's. The inspiring sermon was out of 1 Peter 1:15-16:

"...but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”

Check out these powerful, practical lyrics - use the video below to be your piano accompaniment - to encourage yourself and others in your house to put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
And run not before Him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.

Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.

Take Time to Be Holy - Piano Instrumental with Lyrics

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