03 May 2016

Broken hearted (Love, whose month is ever May)


It's a rather odd phrase-- broken hearted. There are medical influences that cause the heart of a man to tear, but that's not what anyone really means when they use this phrase. It has to do with pain and aches on the inside, perhaps regrets and suffering sometimes caused by others, and sometimes caused by ourselves. Usually this has to do with a situation of discomfort, and a desire on the part of the hearted to wish things could improve.

Some people really don't know how to handle other folks; most of us wish we did, but admit that we have a long way to go.
So what is a broken heart? It's used in reference to a state of extreme grief or sorrow, typically caused by the death of a loved one or the ending of a romantic relationship. As in "she broke my heart" or "that one is going to grow up to break many hearts" and such.

There is another use of the phrase, too.
The singing team from Hillsong in their song "Hosanna" wrote these prayer lyrics, "Heal my heart and make it clean; Open up my eyes to the things unseen.
Show me how to love like you have loved me.
Break my heart for what breaks yours,
Everything I am for Your kingdom's cause,
As I walk from earth into eternity

Of course, their use of broken heart has to do with being moved to be concerned about other things that matter. It reminds me of the heart-strings being pulled by the sight of a blind person with flies around his face, or a small child newly orphaned looking at her bombed village's hut with tears. So a broken heart can mean a heart that stops thinking about itself, and cares about others for just a moment.

No wonder there is confusion about hearts and broken ones at that. When we see a homeless war veteran, our heart ought to 'go out' to such a person and his family. I suppose that's the 'brokenness' that others reference. "That just breaks my heart to see him eating out of the rubbish bin by the cafe," we say.

In terms of God and His compassion for people, He especially cares about the widows and orphans and He especially wants us to care for them as well. A cursory reading of either Testament will highlight this concern. (e.g. Job 22.9, Isa. 10.2, James 1.27) We ought to care for those whom care forgot.

So may I aver that there are two uses of this concept and they really do overlap. 1) A broken heart is when someone experiences the pain of love lost. Shakespeare said in "As you like it" (Act 2): "If thou remember'st not the slightest folly that ever love did make thee run into, Thou hast not loved." He well knew the pain of wrongly placed love. He said in Love's Labours Lost "By heaven, I do love: and it hath taught me to rhyme, and to be melancholy." (Act 4, scene 3)

But 2) the other use of broken heartedness is compassion. It's the concern we feel for the weak and the downtrodden. Our hearts break for them. And that's a good thing. So how do we dovetail these two thoughts?

Francesca Battisteri wrote this song:

Truth is harder than a lie
The dark seems safer than the light
And everyone has a heart that loves to hide
I'm a mess and so are you
We've built walls nobody can get through
Yeah, it may be hard, but the best thing we could ever do, ever do

Bring your brokenness, and I'll bring mine
'Cause love can heal what hurt divides
And mercy's waiting on the other side
If we're honest
If we're honest

Don't pretend to be something that you're not
Living life afraid of getting caught
There is freedom found when we lay our secrets down at the cross, at the cross

It would change our lives
It would set us free
It's what we need to be
Bring your brokenness, and I'll bring mine
'Cause love can heal what hurt divides
And mercy's waiting on the other side
If we're honest"
They used to say "God can heal the broken hearted, if we give Him all the pieces.' But now I think He can heal us if we just turn to Him and are honest. Lord, heal our sick and broken hearts. Make us ministers of your life and love. Give us compassion for the hurting. Others who are hurting much worse than us. And don't help us to help them SO THAT WE ARE BENEFITED. The issue is never us. Lord, help us to forget about ourselves and care for others, full stop.

No one knew that better than Yeshua. He was the Lord of life and love and we read of His broken heart for the Jewish people of His day with "Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd." (Matthew 9.36) And He knew the other kind of disappointing heart break with his friend and colleague Judas in Luke 22.48: 'Jesus said to him, "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?" '

You want a model of broken heartedness that makes a difference in this world? Check out Yeshua. Best one to model, to be sure.

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