Love is agony when the one you love suffers.
I've had an interesting morning. God spent all morning breaking my heart. Truthfully, my heart had become too cold and uncaring for its own good. It was due a good breaking.
It all started when I was eating breakfast. I was scrolling through G+ and came across Kina Grannis' cover of Ed Sheeran's The A Team. I thought it was a beautiful song, so I gave it another listen and really started to listen to the lyrics.
That song is tragic. The video tells the story as plainly as possible. It's about a girl who is addicted to drugs and has lost everything. In order to keep feeding her addiction, she turns to prostitution. She's miserable, can't break free, and dies of an overdose.
Tragic. It especially hit close to home, because there are so many people that I care about whose lives are being destroyed by addiction. That should have been where the agony kicked in, but it wasn't. As I said, my heart had become much too cold. I thought it was very sad, but my heart wasn't broken yet.
About that time, though, I was nearing the end of the lyrics I was reading. I decided to read the first few comments on the lyrics site to see how people had responded to the song. That's when I read this:
"Drugs lead to prostitution, prostitution to drugs. Prostitutes and drug addicts are the same, not worth a penny!"
That's it. That is the moment when my heart broke. Here we have this tragic story of a girl who made some bad choices and got stuck in a loop that ultimately killed her. This is a story that plays itself out EVERY SINGLE DAY. And this person just shrugs it off and says that the people stuck living that life are worthless! This person is not phased by drug addicts and prostitutes dying, because they aren't worth a penny!
Then, the break in my heart started to spread exponentially until I sat there with my heart shattered. Yeah, this person said out loud that they didn't care about these people. But, my actions didn't say anything different about me. It's been a couple of years since I did anything directly to help the homeless or less fortunate. What about the drug addicted? The prostitutes? The sinners? I have made no effort to have any sort of interaction with non-Christians in years. I'm still have unbelieving friends that I met years ago...but they've sort of faded into distant acquaintances.
It's not that I tried to avoid these people. I just followed the route that so many Christians accidentally follow. Our number of non-Christian relationships just tends to dwindle. We don't (all) purposefully avoid them. We just don't go out of the way to interact with them.
That's not okay. Simply not caring may be even worse than despising.
I claim to serve a God who loves people fervently! I claim to serve a God who passionately pursues every human being! He wants to give them hope! To give them life! To give them freedom! I claim to want to be a part of bringing that hope to people.
My actions, though...
My actions say those people are worthless. My actions say that my time is too valuable to go out of my way for someone like that.
How wicked! Christ commanded me to love as he loved. I've been commanded to care for the widow and the orphan. I've been commanded to tell others about the hope I have in Him.
And I don't. And 1 John tells me that if I claim to know God, but don't keep his commandments, the truth is not in me. Furthermore, I know that God is more concerned with my heart than my outward actions. It's not going to be enough to begrudgingly offer help to a homeless person. It's not going to be enough if I care for every orphan in the state of Virginia, if I do it out of responsibility.
Everything should be rooted in love. I serve the God of love. His love was not pouring out of my heart and into the world. That's a problem. My heart was not broken by those who are being destroyed by sin. That's a problem. And this morning, God fixed my problem. He broke my heart of stone.
I know I'm not the only one with a heart that needs broken. I've grown up in church, and too often it's about us instead of about God and about love. Too often, we are more concerned with getting together and having a good time, and not concerned enough with reaching the lost. We love to celebrate. We cringe at reaching out. We complain if the service doesn't meet our standards of "good church," but never go out of our way to reach people who don't know Christ. We invite people to our programs (often with the underlying expectation that they need to clean themselves up a bit if they're going to show), but we don't meet them where they're at and show them love. We don't interact with them, because they might damage our precious reputations, completely ignoring the fact that misguided religious people were CONSTANTLY upset with Jesus for interacting with the people who weren't "good enough."
I firmly believe that the way you spend your time shows what you truly value. And what I see when I look at how we spend our time is this: sinners aren't worth a penny.
That broke me.
For the first time in an embarrassingly long time, I spent my morning praying through tears for people who need the hope, freedom, and life that can only be found in Christ. I agonized over those people the way you agonize when your loved ones are in pain.
And in the agony, I have joy. I know what Christ has saved me from. I know the power he has. I know the love he has. I WANT others to have that. It's not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I want to lead the sick to the only one who can heal them.
And I'm going to. My life is not going to send the message to anyone that they are worthless. God does not want anyone to perish, and neither do I. It's not okay for someone below a certain standard to die scared and alone. It's not okay for us to set that standard. It's not okay.
I pray this message breaks you. I pray God breaks your heart like he broke mine this morning. I pray that the Church will join me in repenting for our lack of love. I pray that we will start truly sending the message of Christ's love to the world.