Words that Cut to the Heart

By: Bethany Mortelliti, Communications Assistant at the180

Have you ever watched a TED talk? If you are unfamiliar, TED talks are basically talks given by activists, philosophers, academics or researchers who have a limited amount of time to share all the information they know on a topic of their expertise.

The content offered in these talks is often stunning, and given the amount of TED talks I've watched, you'd think I'd be a vegan minimalist who plans to homeschool while listening to classical music and advocating for a better recycling system. The truth is though, that I'm not. Like me, you may find it curious that while we're all surrounded by an incredible amount of moving documentaries, inspiring podcasts, and well-crafted books and magazines, we're not progressively becoming more enlightened, kind, or generous people. However, we really shouldn't be surprised.

The thing is that as humans, we have a powerful ability to avoid information that demands that we make a big change in our lives.

Last week, we looked at a time in the Bible where people are gathered together shortly after the death of Jesus. The Holy Spirit has visited them and what comes next is a critical moment in the story, and in the whole of the Christian story: the Apostle Peter begins to preach what we can understand as the very first sermon of unlearning (Acts 2:40-41). He tells the people that as a nation they had neglected their special mission of being a light to the nations around them.

We go on to read that that those who heard this message were “cut to the heart.”

Dom took some time to pause on these words, and they are so important for us in our journey of unlearning.

If you’re anything like me, I can easily recognise areas where I refuse to be "cut to the heart." I don’t like the pain and discomfort of growing—say when I learn that I could be a little more kind or a little less judgmental towards my husband, or when I discover the environmental impact of certain choices and realise that I could take action to care more for God's creation.

In this season at the180, just as the Israelites, we are facing a critical point in our journey where can lead the way forward in an information-heavy and me-centred culture. One of the ways we can do so is by becoming willing to be affected by what's uncomfortable - the whole knife to the heart analogy is no joke! - because this is what will lead to real character change.

It’s tough work that requires a lot of prayer, but we need to become people of soft hearts towards what is important.

Some questions you can ask yourself this weekend might be, "Where do I notice I am resistant to change? How can I form habits where I limit needless information and listen to voices, books, and media that help me to grow? How can I make time to rest so that I'm ready to respond to what is important?" Pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal areas of your heart where you are resisting uncomfortable information. I'd also encourage you to think through and talk about these questions with other people, friends, your spouse - we need our fellow Christians to encourage and support us in this journey of discomfort and new things.

After all, it's only when we have the courage to allow ourselves to be “cut to the heart” that we can become a changed and transformed people, who love Jesus and who love like Jesus.

I’m looking forward to continuing to unlearn with you this coming week at the180.

Missed us last gathering? Listen to Unlearning Evangelism here.