“When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.” – Nehemiah 1:4.
What’s your New Year’s resolution? For most, it’s a self-improvement type dealio. Wake up early every day and workout. (Mine… Already broke it.)
After listening to this sermon, however, I was challenged to think differently on New Year’s resolutions. I was challenged to shift the focus from “How can I improve me?” to “What breaks my heart?”
The truth is, a lot of things break my heart. But my heart is rarely broken enough to the point of getting off my butt and doing something about it, like it was for Nehemiah.
So, I’ve been thinking today, what breaks my heart? At this stage of the game, the things that break my heart are things that usually revolve around misconceptions people have about Christians and God, the consequences of those misconceptions, and the places/situations from where those misconceptions stem. That was a mouthful, so I’ll give you some examples…
It breaks my heart when people want nothing to do with God because of how they were treated by those who follow Him.
It breaks my heart when people view Christianity as nothing more than a list of do’s and don’ts; as a religion rather than a relationship.
It breaks my heart when people feel like they can’t attend church (because if they do, the building might burn down!) simply because they haven’t been in awhile. And it breaks my heart if when they do attend, they feel unwelcomed or shunned.
It breaks my heart when people (including myself) use God as a weapon against other people; when God is used as an excuse to build walls instead of an opportunity to build bridges. (Unless you’re Nehemiah, of course. Then it’s okay to build a wall!)
It breaks my heart when people have a skewed view of what’s in the Bible (and what the Bible is, for that matter) simply because they were given a simplistic view of it.
It breaks my heart when policy becomes more important than people.
It breaks my heart when we choose small hills to die on.
It breaks my heart when we become more known for the things we don’t do than the things we do do. (ha ha. do do! 🙂 )
It breaks my heart when people see faith and reason as mutually exclusive.
It breaks my heart when we get so uncomfortable that we can’t live in the tension. That we can’t hold A in one hand and say, “Yes, this is true” and B in the other hand and say, “But this is also true, even though it seems to conflict with A…” and live in that tension.
It breaks my heart when people don’t understand that it’s okay to be broken and messed up because we’re all broken and messed up, and God is in the business of redeeming all things.
And yet, this is all still just talk. I pray that I can be like Nehemiah, and my broken heart will lead me to an adventure.