Friday, June 10, 2011

Broken Hearts

What breaks your heart?

The first thing that comes to your mind may be that relationship that tanked and ended in a nasty split. However, let's move past emotional heartbreak to spiritual heartbreak.  You see, a broken spiritual heart should do more than leave us with an emotional scar and bitterness. Spiritually speaking, a broken heart should move us to a place of worship.

For me, my heart has always been tender and broken for children in need. It may be physical needs (like food, shelter, clothing or parents), emotional needs (like friendship, acceptance or unconditional love) or spiritual needs (forgiveness, hope, peace or salvation.) In fact, this heartache of mine has prompted Jill and I to consider adoption at sometime. We already have 2 wonderful children, but knowing there are kids without moms and dads, makes my heart ache to do something for them.

This brokenness is not a new concept. Jeremiah, known as the "weeping" prophet, cried out because of the spiritual condition of the Israelites. The book of Lamentations is his spiritual "wail" over there rebellion from God.

Nehemiah was also a man with a broken heart. We can read in the first few verses of his namesake book that he wept, mourned, fasted and prayed when he learned that the wall of Jerusalem were in ruins.

Even Jesus was heartbroken when He arrived at the home of His friend, Lazarus, only to find out that Lazarus died four days earlier. (John 11)

But the question still remains: How does a broken heart move us to a place of worship?

I believe that a heart that is spiritually broken motivates us to three distinct actions.

1) A broken heart produces in us compassion and love for others. Jeremiah, Nehemiah and Jesus all showed compassion and love for those that were hurting or in need.

2) A broken heart compels us to take corrective or restorative action. After Nehemiah wept and prayed, he developed a plan to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the wall. Jesus' broken heart prompted Him to demonstrate God's power and glory through raising Lazarus from the dead.

3) A broken heart drives us to preventative measures. We've seen the hurt and destruction, and we try with all our might to keep those situations from happening again.

All of those actions listed above, when done with and in the love of Christ, are acts of worship.

How can you show more compassion, fix a problem and/or prevent it from happening again? What breaks your heart?

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