I caught myself humming and accidentally meditating on some lyrics from a favorite worship song – Hillsong’s Hosanna :
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 kingdoms cause
As I go from nothing to
60 years ago a man named Bob Pierce prayed these words in a prayer: “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” Dr. Bob Pierce founded World Vision after traveling to China in 1947. On that trip, his heart was broken with the need of one little girl. In the decades since, World Vision met the needs of millions of people in the US and all over the globe.
After my children went on mission trips, their hearts were broken for people in Uganda, India, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Bahamas, and the US. They followed up their trips with actions to help meet the needs they encountered and inspired me to do the same.
Yet I think there are other things, personal things, that break the heart of God. As I continued to mediate about this lyric, God whispered: You can love people around the world, but can you love the person sitting next to you?
What breaks God’s heart? Not just the children dying in poverty. It breaks God’s heart when my attitudes and actions represent the enemy more than they represent Him. I believe God is not as grieved by sinners who act like sinners as He is by Christians who act like sinners.
Can we love those who are lovely?
Of course, that’s easy.
Love the poor?
Sure, most of us can do that. In fact, there are many non-Christians who care for the poor, who sacrifice life and limb to live in impoverished nations, who are in the Peace Corps, the military, the inner cities, Indian reservations, homeless shelters, safe houses for abused. There are non-Christians who are doing what more Christians ought to be doing.
How about loving those who annoy you? What about loving those who hurt you? What about loving someone who hurt your child?
Apart from the grace of God, it’s next to impossible. Yet that is exactly what God calls us to do:
“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” Matt. 5:43-47 MSG
Our “enemies” give us an opportunity to develop Christ-likeness. When we can forgive as He forgave and love as He loved, we become more like Him ~ and we stop grieving Him.
We must stop “acting” like a Christian and start “being” one from the inside out:
“If we are to be imitators of Christ, we need to stop trying to act like Christians (external actions) and instead focus on BEING a Christian from our core (internal transformation). When this becomes our focus, we will discover that it’s not difficult to act like a Christian, because we simply ARE one. Period.”
~ Christine Caine, WCA Leadership Summit 2010)
May our hearts break for that which breaks God’s heart.
And help us Lord to not break Yours.