The Heart of the Matter Part 2

Published on 30 May 2022

We are constantly faced with the gap between our loss of innocence and brokenness, yet our desire for wholeness.

In the Trust, there are people on a path of self-destruction through the choices that they make in highly compromised circumstances and in contexts that we do not understand fully. We all do things that are harmful and destructive to ourselves and others, but we keep it in place because we don’t know how else to cope. This year we are especially learning how coaching and daily spiritual formation can change how we do development. Where love meets us where we are, but in our daily rhythms of prayer and contemplation, refuses to leave us there. Love hopes and expects the best because of a deep knowing of our true value and essence despite the harm and shame we cause.

When Jesus exposes the heart, he stands in the gap.

When the pharisees dragged a prostitute to Jesus and threw her in the sand, he redirected all their anger towards him. They left wondering how they were going to kill him. But the woman had an encounter with the person called Jesus. Love personified. I don’t think she was ever the same again, but it probably came at a great cost and drastic change in her life and lifestyle. 

 The lady who washed Jesus’s feet with her hair in Simon the pharisee’s house had to pay a massive price, but her encounter with love and acceptance led her to give all that she had. Yet, the rich man, who Jesus genuinely loved, walks away, sad, not realising what it means to be truly free. I wonder how the man who asked Jesus to judge over the inheritance between him and his brother felt when he left that day?

The hearts of these women and men were exposed. The man who wants his inheritance does not get what he wants, and the rich man does not get to keep what he has. Yet the women gave everything away because they understood what they were truly getting – relationship and intimacy where joy and shalom are imminent and intrinsic. Maybe these women did not have a lot to begin with, but they also did not cling to the little that they had.

As we are on this journey, we need intimacy with Christ through our daily practices, focus and intentions. We need each other. We need to stand with hearts exposed. Dealing with the gap between our beloved-ness and brokenness. To not harm or self-destruct but discover how loved we are, so we can discover how much God loves our neighbours.

From there we can build strategies that deal with the structural and systemic issues we are faced with in society. But it starts with taking responsibility for our own impulses and responses through a touch of love, grace, forgiveness, and gratitude each day. We don’t want to respond to the chaos in equally chaotic ways. We want to respond from a place of prayer and intimacy.

We are learning with our families to do that. They are a gift to us.

At the end of this post, I ask you to join me in a moment of prayer. May you allow for the pain and piercing of the cross as we face each new day. May you embrace the uncertainty and waiting in the tomb as we face each new day. May you await with expectation for the resurrection that is to come. And may you find intrinsic joy and peace beyond your current reality. 



Marlie Holtzhausen is an embedded researcher at the James 1:27 Trust building on the research findings of her PhD for further postdoctorate research. Her aim is to build bridges between theory and practice through evidence-based research that have tangible implications for development through an interdisciplinary approach within the social sciences. You can read Marlie's PhD here.