Break Our Hearts
There is a set of lyrics, used by many artists, which have convicted my heart over and over again:
God, break my heart for what breaks yours.
It’s easy to just sing over or listen to these words without truly letting their seriousness sink in. For all of us, there are probably many different things that break our hearts and stir up a fire in us: equal rights, human trafficking, the lives of the unborn, mistreatment of the fatherless, and the list of injustices goes on and on. We live in a sinful, evil world that continues to flood our news feeds with injustices and angry advocating voices.
What breaks your heart?
As we follow the life of Jesus, we see many examples of how He loves justice! He traveled town to town helping and healing those who were treated unfairly. Not only was Jesus proactive with practicing justice, He made it a point in Matthew 23 to call out those He knew were acting unjustly:
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices — mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law — justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
Matthew 23: 23–26
Now imagine someone speaking to you this way. It feels harsh. It cuts deep. At first, if we are honest, we’d want to get defensive and believe Jesus could not possibly be describing us this way. We are not like those Pharisees. We aren’t hypocrites! Let’s pause for a second and evaluate why Jesus was so passionate about calling them (and us) out on injustice. And remember again, our God is a loving and just God!
How often do we (myself included) fall victim to our spiritual habits? We go to church. We sing. We pray. We listen to the sermon. Maybe fellowship. Then we go home. Potentially, we do a Bible study and listen to worship music in the car. But what do we do throughout the rest of the week with everything we’ve been fed? Jesus rebuked the religious leaders and those listening for simply going through the motions of “religion” with hearts disconnected from God. They were in an extreme comfort zone.
Jesus rebuked the religious leaders and those listening for simply going through the motions of “religion” with hearts disconnected from God.
This should be a warning to us! Our tendency is to perform the routines of religion while lacking true communion with our God.
So, check your heart. It’s not enough to say, “I go to church, volunteer, do a Bible study, and check all the boxes” or “I’m not causing the injustice to the hurting”. It’s clear what God thinks of those mindsets. He knows many of us have become blind to what truly matters. Has God called us simply to participate in church, be entertained, learn something new, and do nothing?! He says to us: “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause” (Isaiah 1:17).
Has God called us simply to participate in church, be entertained, learn something new, and do nothing?!
Our God calls us to “seek justice.” When we see the vulnerable being hurt, do we seek justice on their behalf? Jesus did no less.
Do our hearts break for what breaks our Father’s heart?
Do we hear of orphans in desperate need of homes and take action to foster or adopt? Do we see needs within our church family and fill them? Do we see someone getting bullied in person or online and stand up for them? Or do we assume someone else will do it?
Yeah, that’s a long list of questions, but do we feel that pit in our stomach, that conviction, that distress from hearing and not doing? God has told us what is good, and what does he require of us? “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
Let’s pray now, right now, for our hearts to truly break just as our Father’s heart breaks for injustice. That our hearts can be transformed, just like in Matthew 23:26. Ask and then allow God to clean us on the inside, so our actions will also be clean.
We need to ask God to break our hearts in a way that we cannot sit idly by as we witness those around us being treated unjustly. And for when we do feel that hurt of heartbreak, we don’t stay blind or distracted or afraid. But rather we are stirred into action, into obedience.
Written by: Hannah Orr, Writer, Strategic Engagement
Published by: Woodside Bible Church, www.woodsidebible.org