Cut to the Heart

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    Have you ever come to realize something that shook you to your core? Maybe you were betrayed by someone you thought was a close friend. Maybe your child tells you something you didn’t expect and it cuts to the heart. Or it may be as simple as realizing that a truth that you held was wrong. These situations can be difficult and highly emotional and people often react differently when they face these realizations.

    After Jesus died, rose from the dead, and returned to heaven the apostles went to Jerusalem and by the power of the Holy Spirit began teaching the truth about Jesus. Peter preached an excellent sermon drawing from Old Testament prophets that the people would have known such as Joel and David. Peter then came to the conclusion that the Jesus they had crucified was the one prophesied about in their beloved Old Testament prophesies. They were cut to the heart (Acts 2:37 says, "Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”). They had just learned that they killed the Messiah. They were responsible for hanging the savior on the cross. Their reaction: “What shall we do?”

    A few chapters later the Apostles had been arrested by the Jews for teaching about Christ. The Jews were very upset and commanded them not to teach about Christ any more. The apostles response was bold. They said, “we ought to obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:29, "But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.")* This was the truth of the matter and even the Jews should have realized this truth, yet this comment angered them greatly. They were “cut to the heart” (Acts 5:33, "When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.") Yet when they were cut to the heart, they responded much differently than the Jews in Acts 2. These Jews were cut to the heart and then tried to kill the apostles.

    And yet a few chapters later we read of Steven. Steven has also been arrested and is on trial. Steven is given a chance to answer for himself, so he uses this opportunity to teach them about Christ. Steven begins with Jewish history of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses leaving Egypt. Then Steven goes on to teach about how all of those men led to Christ who is the savior. Steven calls them “stiffnecked” because they won’t listen to the truth. They are cut to the heart. Who is Steven to teach them anything? They are the Jewish leaders. They are the “awoke” spiritually. They are the ones who did the teaching and it angered them greatly that Steven tried to teach them. They were cut to the heart (Acts 7:54, "When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.") Then they took Steven out and stoned him.

    There are many different reactions people have when they are “cut to the heart”. It can lead one to realize and accept truth. It can motivate one to change their life. It can lead to growth, progression, and a stronger faith. Or it can lead to anger, hatred, spite, and refusal to change. We usually don’t like it when truth “cuts to the heart”, yet when our heart is right, it will only lead to growth.

    How do you handle being “cut to the heart?”