Dose of Truth

The power of a kind heart

Tim Richards

In a recent national poll 81% of Americans believe life after COVID-19 will not return to normal anytime soon. When those surveyed were asked to select the word which best described how they are feeling: 62% said “disappointed”, 46% “exhausted”, 43% “worried”, and 41% “angry.”

I regularly read a blog by Dr. Jim Denison who wrote about these studies. He talked about three words: “orthodoxy” (right belief), “orthopraxy” (right practice) and “orthocardia” (right heart). Many believe the right things and even do the right things; but there is far greater power in having the right heart.

The Apostle Paul never used the word “orthocardia” when he penned his famous chapter on love used in many weddings today. “If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, NLT)

This passage demonstrates the importance of a right heart. Genuine love requires doing the right thing for the right reason. Denison illustrated by sharing this moving story from the life of the black Anglican minister, Desmond Tutu. He was central to bringing an end to apartheid in South Africa.

When asked by the BBC to identify the defining moment of his life, Tutu recalled walking down the street as a 9-year-old with his mother, and meeting a white man, Trevor Huddleston, walking toward them. In the days of apartheid, when a black person and a white person met on the street, the black person was expected to step into the gutter to allow the white person to pass while giving them a respectful nod. However, on that day, before Tutu and his mother could step off the sidewalk, the white man stepped aside and tipped his hat to Desmond’s mother.

His mother explained the white man was an Anglican priest and that he had stepped off the sidewalk because he was a “man of God.” Tutu recalls, “When she told me he was an Anglican priest, I wanted to be an Anglican priest too and I also wanted to be a man of God.” Later he learned Trevor Huddleston was opposed to apartheid.

The impact of doing the right thing for the right reason is hard to measure. As our motives and actions line up, we put ourselves in a position for God to use us in extraordinary ways. Huddleston had no idea respectfully stepping off a sidewalk would change not only a little boy’s life, but South Africa and the world as well.

Tim Richards

has been a pastor for 37 years, serving five churches, including his current church, The Refuge in St. Louis, which he founded. He and the congregation minister to those who are hurting and do their part to expand God’s kingdom. Tim and his wife Kelly have five children. “A Dose of Truth” which he has written for more than 25 years appears in 13 newspapers. His book, “Thriving in the Storm: Discovering God’s Peace and Perspective in Turbulent Times,” is available from Amazon. Feel free to contact him at Photography is another of his skills. Pastor Tim’s photos may be viewed at