Break my heart for what breaks yours. This single line of a song we sing in church somehow got stuck in my mind, like a repeating refrain. I began to think about these words—what was it that broke God’s heart? I could think of quite a few things off the top of my head. There’s so much wrong with the world. So much sin and evil, hardship and pain.
Still the line continued to play through my mind. Break my heart for what breaks yours. I thought a little harder. Would I want my heart to break at all the sorrow around me? Would I want to see the world through God’s eyes for even a single moment? Could my heart bear it? I decided, no. Safer not to let that kind of pain into my heart. Rather keep the world and its heartbreak at arm’s length. I wouldn’t even sing that line the next time the song came up.
Now it was starting to get annoying. Break my heart for what breaks yours. Over and over again. As I was driving to school in the morning As I was having a quiet time. As I was making dinner. The more I tried to shake it from my mind, the more that single line crept into my thoughts. I began to sense God was trying to tell me something.
So I stopped thinking about the line and started praying it. Lord, break my heart for what breaks yours—really. And I was more than a little scared.
I expected His answer would come as I drove past one of the many beggars on a street corner. I began to look at them and search out the sorrow in their eyes. But this wasn’t the specific heartbreak God wanted to show me. I heard news reports. Human trafficking. Orphan crisis. Rhino poaching. Yet even in these heart-breaking stories I didn’t sense God’s answer.
His reply finally came through the book I was reading—‘Blue Like Jazz’ by Donald Miller. There is a chapter in the book called “Confessions: Coming out of the Closet” in which Miller tells about being part of a group of Christians who set up a confession booth on a liberal campus, in the middle of a very wild weekend festival. This was no ordinary confession booth. It wasn’t the stoned or drunk students who came to offer their confessions. Rather, it was the Christians confessing to the students.
Miller confesses to one of the students:
“Jesus said to feed the poor and to heal the sick. I have never done very much about that. Jesus said to love those who persecute me. I tend to lash out. Jesus did not mix His spirituality with politics. I grew up doing that. It got in the way of the central message of Christ. I know that was wrong, and I know that a lot of people will not listen to the words of Christ because people like me, who know Him, carry our own agendas into the conversation rather than just relaying the message Christ wanted to get across.”
As I read that chapter something shifted in me. I felt…sorrow. To the very core of me. I knew in that moment what broke God’s heart. It was me. Living indifferently. Keeping people at arm’s length. Not caring if they heard the gospel or not. Not having the courage to reach out and take action to make someone’s life better. It broke God’s heart that I was not showing the world Jesus.
Break my heart for what breaks yours. The refrain is gone from my mind now. Even the aching sorrow God showed me has waned, although I want it to cling to me so that I will change the way I live. I do not want to keep breaking His heart.
And so I pray that the next line of the song—Everything I am for your kingdom’s cause—becomes the way I live from now on.