Sunday, July 8, 2012

Break My Heart for What Breaks Yours

“Break my heart for what breaks yours”
Thank you, Casting Crowns, for your powerfully penetrating words that plead for purpose and meaning.  But then, what breaks God’s heart?  My first mental responses float to poverty, violence, homelessness, and broken families.  True, those issues tug at our hearts, make us cry, and often move us to action -all good responses.  But do they break God’s heart? 
My mind goes back to the garden.  Adam and Eve had a sweet relationship with the God of the universe.  No work schedule, or cultural norms, or even family interfered with their daily communion.  Yet a choice to sin ruined that connection for ever and forced their move from the most beautiful place on earth.  That had to break God’s heart.  At least that is what I think had to have happened, but did it really?  Sin affected everything.  God didn’t walk away, but he set a plan in place that would one day redeem that relationship.  I don’t see God’s tears in Genesis, but I do see an emotional response in action. 
Jump ahead a few chapters and hundreds of years to the time of Noah.  Read Genesis 6: 5-6 and God’s broken heart bleeds on the pages before your eyes.  “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.” 
Again, sin is the major culprit.  Notice though, in each of these cases the sin of the individual breaks God’s heart, not necessarily how the sin affects someone else.  For example, does my heart break for the sex offender in jail who has chosen to sin, or is my heart hurting only for the young girl violated by his choices?  Tough question. 
God’s Word is filled with examples of man’s broken relationship with God.  Each time, man comes up short and God comes up that much bigger.  Nehemiah recounts a history to his people who had been rebuilding the Jerusalem wall after years of fighting and decay.  Chapter nine in Nehemiah says this:  “You (God) came down on Mount Sinai and spoke with them from heaven and gave them right rules and true laws, good statutes and commandments . . . . They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt.  But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them.”  God’s broken heart because of a broken relationship did not result in a broken promise. 
But what about the New Testament?  What broke Christ’s heart as he walked in the midst of men daily?  What made him cry? 
Was it the poverty?  I don’t think so.  He cared.  He loved.  He helped.  But he did not eradicate it.  In fact, he said that we will always have the poor with us (John 12:8).  What they wouldn’t have always was Christ.
Was it homelessness that tugged at his heart?  I honestly do not think so.  Christ himself had no place to lay his head (Luke 9: 58).  When Christ sent out his apostles (Matthew 10:5-23) they were to expect no pay.  They had no place to call home.  They were to  carry no more than the bare necessities with them.  In fact, he flat out told them that they would be persecuted.  We are talking beatings and death not name calling and picketing. 
So what broke his heart?  John 11 recounts a story of Jesus and his friends, one of whom had died – Lazarus.  It is in this chapter that we are told that Jesus cries.  God’s Word tells us that Christ was deeply moved.  Why?  Did death break his heart?  I am sure that hearing that a good friend had died brought out emotions as Christ was as all man as he was all God, but I truly believe it was more.  Christ saw that the people around him, including his close friends still did not get it.  They did not see God.  He tells Martha at one point, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”   Martha was missing the whole picture.  That broke Christ’s heart. 
So what?
A social gospel encourages us to feed, clothe, and house the poor and needy.  These are all good things.  However, what is missing?  Are we truly being broken hearted over their sin condition?  Are we doing a disservice to our homes and the world around us if we miss out on sharing what would make the biggest difference in their life?  Are we truly showing the glory of God, or are we masking it with what is easier to deal with.  Sin, of course, is quite ugly. 
Writing this is not for the benefit of others, but rather a challenge to my heart.  My sin is just as ugly, disgusting, and destructive as the next girl’s.  Does it break my heart when my relationship is broken with my heavenly father?   Does it break my heart when I choose to do only what is right in my own eyes rather than live by what God has set as good and true for my life?  Does it break my heart when I miss out on seeing God for who he really is? 
This of course is not an excuse to ignore other injustices in our world today.  Christ gave us innumerable examples of love lived out in others.  The problem lies in forgetting the basis for those injustices and letting our hearts be hardened to sin. 
Lord, please break my heart for what breaks yours.


Anonymous said...

I never looked at it this way. What your saying makes perfect sense! Ido believe that what Breaks God's heart is when we put everything else above him. The two greatest commandments is to love the Lord God with all your heart and to love others. I always enjoy reading your blog!

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