Words of Hope: A More Transformative Perspective

In the last two Words of Hope, I have been sharing about a presentation Shann and I heard during our prayer retreat. One of the most provocative statements for me is that God cannot be present in organizations who do not have heartbreak. He explained anger without sorrow, compassion, and tears is not heartbreak, but vitriol and anger can never bring about the righteous life God desires. The presenter noted that when we create spaces that lose the capacity to weep together, when a church becomes a place of judgment instead of vulnerability, when communities become litigious instead of communal, then God’s Spirit is absent. When we let go of lamenting together and replace this with an angry or vengeful heart, God is absent. Without a heart broken for what breaks God’s heart, we lose the Holy Spirit. 

I think about how often someone says something that breaks their heart but there are no tears. I also think about how easy it is to claim that something breaks God’s heart, but the situation has nothing to do with our own story. I believe, along with the presenter that heartbreak without compassion is just self-righteousness and a reason for judgment. It is easy to imagine what breaks God’s heart over what others do, or sins others struggle with that I do not share. How easy it is to get morally caught up in the desire to reform those we do not know, or may not love, those for whom we do not have any heartbreak. I believe the more important question, the more transformative question is, “What breaks God’s heart that I do?”  

Hide your face from my sins 

    and blot out all my iniquity. 

Create in me a pure heart, O God, 

    and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 

Do not cast me from your presence 

    or take your Holy Spirit from me. 

Restore to me the joy of your salvation 

    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. 

– Psalm 51:9-12