“What about Christians with a broken heart?”
If you have read the first three posts, by now you are beginning to wonder, “I have come to faith in Christ and my sin is forgiven. Why does my heart still hurt? Is there something wrong with me?”
Remember that the heart is what makes you who you are—from the Bible’s perspective, the heart is where we think, feel, and desire. The brokenness of sin is one cause of heart pain, and is the cause the Bible speaks of most often. There are many more.
Empathy is one source of heart pain. We feel, sometimes quite strongly, the pain of others. This is especially true when someone we love hurts. When my child suffers disappointment, I feel that pain with her.
The most common source of heart pain is grief—the pain of loss. Usually, we associate grief with the death of a loved one. Certainly, on those occasions, we feel the pain of grief most acutely. But life is a series of losses. Some losses are disappointments that we can manage out of our emotional resources, but others are deep wounds that stop us dead in our tracks.
Much has been made of the so-called stages of grief—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Recognizing how humans respond to loss is helpful, especially if you are experiencing it yourself. Nothing is wrong with you when your heart hurts from grief.
Does Jesus heal grieving hearts? Yes, in a much different way…
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4 ESV)
When your loved one died, or when your job was downsized, it was not because you failed or sinned. Your heart did not break, but it feels the emotional sting of loss. Jesus does not wipe the pain away, but he will bring comfort to your mourning.
Sure, the Lord can wipe away the pain in an instant. Instead he gives something much sweeter—His presence. Just as grief will surprise you when a sharp pain comes, seemingly from nowhere, so the presence of God will surprise you with his grace, peace, and affirmation.
If you are grieving, find some time—both quality and quantity—to be with God. Make sure you have a quiet time to read the Bible, to pray, to journal, and to listen to the gentle whispers of God. And stay involved with the people of God by attending church services, small groups, and service opportunities. God will love you through the church.
Jesus heals hearts!
How do you fix a broken heart?
In Part One, we came to grips with the difficult truth that humans follow their broken hearts, and we all have one. Part Two described how our hearts broke, and why we feel our brokenness so strongly. We also learned that God is drawn to broken hearts, not offended by them.
So, let’s ask the question again, “How do you fix a broken heart?” The only answer is, “You can’t.”
Not the answer you were looking for? To get the right answer, first ask the right question. Let’s try it again, “Who fixes broken hearts?” The only answer is, “Jesus.” He described his mission like this…
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” (Luke 4:18 KJV)
That’s right, God the Father sent Jesus the Son to fix your broken heart and mine. Jesus came to earth, not in spite of our broken hearts but because of them. When Jesus died on the Cross, he absorbed the punishment of our sins—that was Phase One that erased our record of sin. To complete Phase One, ask God to forgive you and invite Jesus to become the center of your life.
Phase Two is the miracle of a healed heart. The same grace that saved you from the punishment for your sin, transforms your heart. Read this great promise again…
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.” (Titus 2:11-12 ESV)
We are tempted to sell grace short, as merely the absence of punishment. But God’s favor toward us is so much more; in fact, grace is an active force in our lives. Ironically, we find ourselves trying very hard to correct our own behavior, hoping in vain to live up to the grace of God. It works in just the opposite way; the more grace heals our hearts, the less we live broken lives.
When my car needs repair, I turn the keys in to the mechanic and leave him to do his work. If I could fix the problem myself, I wouldn’t need to bring it to the shop in the first place. The worst thing to do is to bring my car to the mechanic and then fight for the wrench and keep trying to make the repair on my own. If your heart is broken bring it to Jesus and let Him do His thing. Where is Jesus’ heart repair shop? Wherever Jesus is. But I have found He works on my heart when I read and think about the Word of God, when I pray, when I go to church and worship with other followers of Jesus, and when I give of myself to another person.
Jesus heals hearts. All hearts. Let Him heal yours.
David L. DeGarmo (D. Min.) serves Global University as Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Theology. Along with his wife Ruth, he is also a U.S. Missionary. He has extensive experience as an educator, missionary, and pastor.
David writes an additional blog on a variety of topics. Check it out...