Break My Heart...
It came to mind this morning as I read Genesis 6. God looks down and sees the state of the world and this is recorded: “The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain” (vss. 5, 6).
We are not accustomed to think of God as being in pain. Somehow He is viewed as being above all that, particularly when we consider that Revelation tells us that there is no pain in heaven (Revelation 21:4). Yet that is where He resides. Perhaps the clue there is that John is describing how it will be after the second coming and the final judgment on evil and evil men.
In the meanwhile, even God feels pain. Even the Almighty lives with a broken heart.
The song asks for a heart broken by what breaks God’s heart, and here in Genesis 6 we discover what that is. God’s heart is broken because of man’s rebellion, because man’s heart is constantly inclined toward evil.
Paul writes: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have become altogether worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:10-18).
That’s what breaks God’s heart.
Does it break mine? Does it break yours?
The Genesis story describes how God dealt with the cause of the pain—judgment would fall on the earth (6:7) via a flood that destroyed everything except one ark full of animals and Noah’s family. But the sin that broke God’s heart would return—man’s wickedness, inbred and fed, would rise again.
The pain that our sin caused God in Noah's day would be but a shadow of the pain caused by God’s next step.
“Surely he [Jesus] took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we consider him stricken by God, smitten by him and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was laid on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:4-6).
For those of us who believe, the reminder of what God did, what Jesus did, is a reason for great joy and gratitude. At the same time, it ought to drive us to tears when we understand the huge price tag that was attached to pay for what we have done.
But back to song: “Break my heart for what breaks yours.” Can we ask, dare we ask, the Spirit of God to rip away the barriers we have built to protect ourselves from feeling the pain that breaks His heart when we look at the world we live in? Dare we ask Him to break our hearts when we see, and hear, and experience evil, as His heart is broken by it? Dare we ask for the courage to do something, however small, to deal with that evil? In between the flood and the cross and the judgment, God has worked tirelessly and patiently to rebuke, correct, teach, and heal, even through His own pain. Dare we ask for the same compassion and strength to rebuke, correct, teach, and heal where we can, to bear the pain but work to alleviate its cause?
Dare we ask?