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Colleen Capes Jackson: Return to the Simple Ways, to the Simple Truths
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Dear Editor,

My name, heritage and salvation are three things that no one can take from me. All are sacred and given to me at a great price as a gift to honor, protect, and defend. I must remember this and never fail to be thankful. Other people’s actions, and attitudes do not lessen the importance and value of these precious gifts.

Our town, and nation are a revolving door for controversy because people have turned away from God and from the principles that made us strong.

My heart breaks to see fighting, shootings, disrespect and hatred. Students as young as grammar school address their teachers across the nation with four letter curse words with absolutely no fear of punishment. Parents, administrators, and community are giving in to immoral and disrespectful behavior.

May I recommend that our actions begin with self-examination? Psalm 139:23, New International Version (NIV) reminds us “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” My hope for our nation is that we Invite God back into our homes and hearts. Accept responsibility for our lives, homes, children and grandchildren. Make a list of our priorities and see where we place God and the things that we hold dear to us.

Respond with love for our fellow man. My Mother, the late Corris Capes spoke many words of wisdom, and this one in particular has stuck with me, “You do not have to love a person’s actions, but you must love their soul.” Meaning: You must never lose sight of the value of a person’s soul. No matter how vile, or how mean-spirited they become, or how their actions cause harm to you or to someone you love. Our first reaction to another person should be to pray for their soul.

Have you ever succeeded at changing anyone? Only God can do that through the work of the precious Holy Spirit, speaking to our hearts.

If we, as a community and nation, are saddened and heartbroken over what we see and hear around us, let us all pray for wisdom.

Let us remember that objects and symbols are not the source of our pain. Only the unsaved condition of one’s heart can cause pain. We cannot re-write history or change what happened yesterday, but we can pray for change for today and tomorrow.

My Great-Grandfather, the late Rev. Ephraim Pray Hammond, was a Godly man who believed in the efficacy of prayer during his 93 years on this earth. He prayed constantly for the boys from the “church settlement” who were overseas. His church family believed that his prayers were responsible for the fact that no gold star hung in either Almon or High Point Church.

From an excerpt in the Atlanta Constitution on Friday, November 23, 1945, Grandpa is quoted as telling the reporter who asked about the topic for his last sermon, “My son, he said, “I would tell them simply to return to the old paths. We, like sheep, have gone astray. We find ourselves today in a position where life has gotten a little out of hand. We should return to the simple ways, to the simple truths.”

Grandpa reminded everyone, “We are to be burden bearers, one to the other.” Grandpa Hammond was a great inspiration to me and a vital part of my heritage. From his humble beginnings in Newton County, I am a proud fourth generation resident. I’m thankful that Grandpa wrote in journals. What will generations from now read that you and I have written or chronicled in Facebook, Twitter, and other published works? What form of understanding, hope or wisdom will it give them?

It gives me great pleasure to share this entry from Grandpa’s journal: “I have no possessions in this world to bequeath you. All the wealth I ever had is God’s promises and they are true and tried. I heartily recommend them to you. Be sure and rightly use them and you will find they are the true riches.”

Grandpa had a strong belief in the power of prayer. Before his death, one of his sons noticed an abrasion on his father’s knee. “I guess that came from kneeling so much,” Grandpa said on behalf of the countless times he interceded for family, friends, and the Newton County communities.

I penned a prayer dedicated to him. “Lord, let my knees grow calloused as my heart grows tender for more prayer time with you.” Grandpa’s advice in 1945 sounds like good advice for us today, “We should return to the simple ways, to the simple truths.”

Colleen Capes Jackson