Every so often I run across a quote that resonates so deeply it feels as if it has rocked my very soul.
One such quote is by World Vision’s founder, Bob Pierce, who said, “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God,” written as a message upon a piece of loose leaf after witnessing the suffering in South Korea in 1950.
Hillsong United, include that now famous line in their song, “Hosanna”. Christian bloggers around the world have written posts around this phrase. It is at once both beautiful and powerful. Yet as I look around the world, I am seeing changes for the worse and not better.
The magnitude of these words began to speak and I asked myself if I honestly yearn for God to break our hearts? I reminded myself that God knows my heart inside out and he also knows what breaks my heart.
So, was my heart really breaking with the things that break the heart of God, or are we merely giving lip service to issues I encounter or when I see a person in need?
If my heart was to break for what broke the heart of God, would I be standing up and crying out against injustice, against poverty, and against sickness? Would I put my money where my mouth is and dive in head first to begin solving these problems? And would I devote the rest of my life to spread the unfailing love and grace of Jesus throughout this world. It is our mission. But will it be my passion?
My initial response is that I will always come from a heart that burns passionately for Jesus Christ. My one desire is to serve Him and to carry out the mission He gave me to do. For me, following Jesus requires an active faith, one in which I surrender my hands and feet to be wholly used for His purposes.
First things first though. I cannot be broken unless I allow Christ to do His thing in me. That means being open to Godly instruction and advice and humbling myself to realise that I have things to work on. It means praying and being open to change. It’s not easy. Spiritual growth hurts. It’s going to be the re-breaking of things that healed wrong in the first place and need to be reset in the truth of the Word of God. I know this from experience. God is still working on me in many areas. The moment I think I’ve arrived is the moment I need to continually look inward at myself. Remember, we won’t arrive anywhere until we arrive at the gates of heaven or hell. The choice of destination is completely up to us.
It’s a strange thing how our hearts respond in to hurt and need. We may begin compassionate and then grow numb. We may grieve over sin at first and then slowly grow accustomed to it. It’s a kind of spiritual numbness.
But burning within was a desire to know what breaks God’s heart and then partner with Him in fulfilling his purpose on earth.
The heart of God is a beautiful place. But I will only know His heart by knowing His word.
It breaks God’s heart when I don’t know and live His Word
Isn’t it interesting that year in and year out the Bible is still a bestseller? But its popularity is not keeping Western society from crumbling morally and spiritually. There appears to be little connection between what people say they believe and the way people act. Could the problem lie in the fact that while we may read God’s Word and believe God’s Word, we do not practice God’s Word? In the words of James, we are to “But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” James 1:22.
It broke Jesus’ heart that the Scribes and Pharisees, the students of the Word, did not practice the Word. They argued and debated the Scriptures but they did not accept and follow its precepts. They had knowledge of the Law but did not apply it.
It breaks God’s heart when my attitudes and actions do not represent Him.
I believe God is not as grieved by sinners who act like sinners as He is by Christians who act like sinners.
It broke God’s heart with the sacrifice of His son Jesus at Calvary.
There we see the greatest tragedy ever being played out in the Son of God. The most beautiful and wonderful creature who ever lived becomes sin for us. The old creation dies. It was finished. Of course, God so loved the world that He sent His Son for us. He worked a redemption, and made a new creation. God could do something about what His heart was broken over, and did do something. Something eternal.
God’s broken heart is as eternal as the Redemption itself. Now, as one bought with that price, I never want to do anything which would minimise what it cost God to redeem me. I want to please Him, not only for the benefit of my own salvation, but for the pleasure it gives to the heart of God Himself.
It breaks God’s heart when His children disobey Him
As Jesus makes his way to Jerusalem, he comes to the Mount of Olives and upon seeing the city he cries out,
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.” Matthew 23:37 NLT. Luke records that Jesus proceeded to weep over the city and her disobedience. After centuries of God calling to His children and imploring them to return, He finally just weeps over their disobedience and gives them over to the natural consequences of their sin.
Disobedient children break God’s heart because they call his character into question. Every time we disobey, we are declaring our own uprightness and God’s moral deficiency. What makes this accusation so much more grievous, is the fact that God has adopted us into His family as beloved children and every time we disobey we make our Father out to be cruel instead of loving, a monster instead of a Saviour, and a tyrant instead of a Dad.
Maybe these are simple thoughts. But they are the truth that God is pouring out on me in this season. My heart is burdened to get to this place of allowing my heart to break like His.
As I try to walk in His footsteps I have gained new insight. It is a personal experience and I struggle to sustain a level of brokenness and caring to press ahead in loving as God loves. I have to confess that I struggle to mourn. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4
It is about crying out to God, that He would break my heart again and again, because if I don’t I know that I could not love in the way God does. It can only happen when God breaks my heart. Only then can I care and love as He loves.
That is why I must pray constantly that God will soften my heart so that I can see the world the way He sees it.
God wants it to be personal for me as it always is for Him.