Today I want to start a series on heart problems by looking at how to mend a broken heart. Bear in mind that by profession I am an Optometrist not a cardiologist, but hopefully we can examine the world of heart problems, because there in not one person alive who does not suffer from problems of the heart at some time.
In coming messages we will look at all sorts of heart problems, like heart ache, a cold or warm heart, whole and half heartedness, a heart of gold, being downhearted, having a heavy heart or not putting your heart into it.
So let’s start by looking at the human heart. Is it good, or is it bad?
THE HEART… IS IT BLACK OR WHITE?
The Bible says,
The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?
“I the Lord search the heart
and test the mind,
to give every man according to his ways,
according to the fruit of his deeds.”
So we know from the start that the heart is deceitful, desperately sick or wicked, and that God will test it, judge it and reward us for what we have done, the fruit of our deeds.
The Hebrew word for deceitful is “aqob”, which refers to a hilly swell of land, and to being crooked, deceitful and slippery. So in a sense, our heart is a slippery slope and can easily deceive us and cause us to fall if we rely on it, and if we are controlled by it.
It is also describes the human heart with the Hebrew word “Anas”, which means desperately and incurably wicked, sick or feeble.
Someone once told me that they believe mankind is ultimately good at the core… that people are deep down kind and caring.
This according to the Bible, and indeed history, is utter rubbish. Have a look at history. As soon as you remove rules, people are not kind and pure, they are selfish and turn on each other. Look at the Balkans when communism was removed, look at Rwanda when the Belgians pulled out.
Look at a baby. What’s the first word they say? Daddy? Mummy? No, it’s almost always the word “NO!”
You have to teach a child to be kind and to behave well. You don’t have to teach them to be selfish, self-centred, angry or rude. They seem to have an innate ability to master those things, right?
And that’s because our hearts, your heart and my heart, are desperately wicked. But God can change that totally.
So as we study this, open that old heart of yours to let God start sorting through things, because He knows you better than you know yourself…
And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us,
So, let’s look today at the first of our heart problems, one that we all face at some time…
A BROKEN HEART
When I say the phrase “broken hearted” many of you here know exactly what I mean.
How many songs have been written f Om a broken heart? Thousands, right?
It must have been love, but it’s over now
“Once upon a time I was falling in love. / Now I’m only falling apart. / There’s nothing I can do / total eclipse of the heart.”
These foolish games are tearing me apart. / And your thoughtless words are breaking my heart. / You’re breaking my heart.”
Up break my heart, say you love me again
During this past year, you may have experienced terrible suffering emotionally, physically, spiritually. Your heart may be breaking with grief over the death of a loved one. Perhaps you have lost your job or experienced a crushing failure in your personal life. You may have a child with a long-term illness or one who has left home in open rebellion.
What do we do when we feel ripped in half? How do we continue, how do we persevere, with knives in our hearts? How do we have real joy in life when our heart is so broken?
A few years back, a newspaper in Nashville was doing a series of articles on people who were suffering from a broken heart. They wrote to pastors asking them to consider submitting the names of people they knew who had suffered a broken heart, so they might see about doing some interviews. One perceptive pastor boxed up and mailed them the Nashville telephone directory! He was on target! Everyone, sooner or later, will experience a broken heart.
Today I am going to show you that Gid can heal you…
He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
THE CAUSES OF A BROKEN HEART
A broken heart has many causes. Some of them occur because of your own decisions, and some happen to you, no matter what you do. Here’s a few causes of a broken heart…
Sin in your life causes guilt, and failing to deal with your guilt causes more guilt. Carrying your guilt around is heartbreaking, and trust me the devil will delight in bringing it all back to you, reminding you of your sin and guilt.
Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.
Once you know you are in sin, if you ignore it, you heap guilt upon yourself. If you are ignorant of your sin you have no guilt (although you still have sin), but if you are aware of it, you MUST repent. Believe me, guilt is a heart breaker!
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Repent, and you are cleansed, no matter what you have done. Murder, drugs, adultery, stealing, no sin is too big that God will not forgive you, if you repent. Repent in the New Testament implies change, so it’s not just saying or feeling sorry, it is changing you life and not doing it again.
Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices.
And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all.
You can feel sorry but not repent, like an addict repeating the addiction, and when you do the guilt is heartbreaking.
Grief is the loss of someone or something you love.
Losing someone you love breaks your heart. If you have been happily married and your spouse dies, this breaks your heart. Having a life long friend move away, losing custody of your children, going through a divorce or separation, all of these things cause grief and a broken heart.
2 Corinthians 7:10
For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.
But you don’t have to face this loss alone. As we will see later, bringing your grief to God can allow Him to turn it around. Failing to give it to God is, and let’s be clear about this, a sin, and that verse tells us it produces death in your life.
You may never get over the loss of someone you love, and that’s normal if you were close to them. I lost my Dad last year, and I still miss him. In Christ, you can still miss them, but you can do so without carrying a broken heart. God can heal the broken heart, even if you never stop missing them.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
If you are hoping for something, longing for someone to do something, and it doesn’t happen, then it literally can make you sick. It breaks your heart, and it can break your spirit too!
Maybe that job you want doesn’t happen. Maybe that person you love doesn’t respond in kind. How can you deal with disappointment and overcome a broken heart?
Here’s the thing, if you change just one letter, the word DISAPPOINTMENT becomes HIS APPOINTMENT!
One of the most common causes of a broken heart is rejection. You love someone, and they don’t love you back. You make your love known, and they openly reject you.
Why, Lord, do you reject me and hide your face from me?
The Hebrew word for reject means to cast away, or to create a stench. So this implies that when you are rejected, you feel like you are no better than garbage, thrown away, smelly, disgusting and revolting!
At school this happened to me several times. I was not always bold about stating my feelings, so often my heart was broken in secret. I’d like a girl, she wouldn’t like me, sometimes wouldn’t even know I existed, and then she’d hook up with some other guy, and it would break my heart. You know the drill, right?
Rejection can drive you to despair…
Reproaches have broken my heart, so that I am in despair.
If you don’t deal with this, it can sit in you and fester, especially if you see that person again. This is a common thing for divorcees, because often your ex doesn’t treat you with a lot of respect. The funny thing is that, even if you don’t want them back, when they reject you it still hurts, and it still can break your heart!
This is especially true if they use the kids, or friends. That’s why God says in Malachi 2:16 that He hates divorce. Does He hate divorcees? No, He loves them! But when relationships break up, God hates it because everybody hurts, everybody gets their heart broken. The husband and wife, the kids, the grandparents. Even friends are polarised, his friends and and her friends. No one wins except the lawyers!
It’s a fact… Whatever the circumstances, and however tough you might think you are, being rejected by someone we love always break your heart!
Another heart breaker is affliction. When things go wrong, when you suffer pain or loss, your heart just breaks!
Part of the reason for this is because you feel overwhelmed, and without hope. Prisoners often experience this. People who struggle for a long time with sickness or poverty also experience this heart break.
Addicts experience this too, as do victims of sexual and other forms of abuse. I have witnessed many people close to me spend years recovering from sexual abuse, and the trust that is destroyed by this horrible sin, but I can assure you, if you have been through this experience, there is hope. Your broken heart can be put back together when you bring the pieces to the Lord!
But I am afflicted and in pain;
let your salvation, O God, set me on high!
But there is hope…
He delivers the afflicted by their affliction
and opens their ear by adversity.
This means that the bad things you have suffered can make a ou a better person, if you deal with them God’s way instead of letting them break your heart and destroy you!
THE CONSEQUENCES OF A BROKEN HEART
Ok, so your heart has been broken… What are the consequences?
You get hurt, you get bruised, that’s normal. Bruises are actually haemorrhages under the skin. They make the pain last a lot longer, they make the bruised area tender to the touch. And that’s what a bruised heart can do.
So you may have had your heart broken, perhaps recently, perhaps years ago. If you are still bruised, then you are tender to the touch. The old saying, “Hurt people hurt people!”
In church we have many porcupine Christians… They’ve got a lot of good points, but you can’t get close to them. Why? Because they are bruised, and if you try and get near them at some point they will be tender, and probably over react to the smallest thing.
See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;
Bitterness is a horrible, destructive result of a broken heart. And the worst thing is, it doesn’t just affect you, it affects those around you. Many times bitter people don’t even realise they are bitter, they just destroy the joy of others.
Max Lucado said, “Bitterness is its own prison.”
Here’s an acid test: if the person who broke your heart walked through this door right now, what would be your feelings towards them? If it’s not love, then chances are you’re still dealing with the bitterness of a broken heart.
The root of bitterness that can result from having your heart broken can and will destroy your life. It might be painful to try and remove it, but the longer you leave it there and the stronger it grows, the consequences are catastrophic!
If you have had your heart broken and you’ve held onto it, then today you need to let it go, however painful that may be. If you have a cancer in your body, the operation is not pleasant, it is extremely painful, but without it you will die. It’s the same with the root of bitterness!
Another consequence of a broken heart is barrenness. God wants you to bear fruit in your life, and a broken heart can stop this, often for years, causing you to suck the life out of everyone around you who tries to care for you and show you love!
For the company of the godless is barren
Barren people are miserable, and they tend to gather together with others to share their misery. If you want your life and life to the fullest (John 10:10), then let your broken heart be healed this morning and overcome barrenness with fruitfulness in Christ Jesus!
You’ve been hurt, and if you allow your life to become barren you will sabotage relationships. You will avoid getting close to others in an effort to not get your heart broken again!
A broken heart affects us so deeply that it can totally enslave our lives. It can affect every aspect of life, and plunge our life, relationships and our whole future into bondage.
Bondage gives place to the devil in our lives, and this in turn leads to strongholds being established that will ruin both you and those around you if you let them.
But listen to this…
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.
The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
This morning is a time of Liberty, a time of being set free from the bondage, the bitterness and the barrenness of a broken heart! This morning is a day for breaking strongholds, setting the captives free and releasing your life to Jesus…
THE CURE FOR A BROKEN HEART
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.
If your heart is broken, know that Jesus not only understands, cares and empathises, but that He’s been there too.
He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
If you have never come to this Jesus, today is the day you need to ask Him into your broken heart
If you have come to this Jesus already, many of you are still carrying the burden of a broken heart.
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Jesus does not despise you for your broken heart! He loves you, and He died and rose again to mend broken hearts just like yours. It may take some time, and it may cause some pain, but anything is better than letting your broken heart ruin your life, your future, your relationships and most of all, your walk with God!
This morning Jesus is saying to you
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden (or bearing burdens you should not be carrying), and I will give you rest (refreshment, quietness, support)
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.
Don’t carry the burden of a broken heart any longer. It’s time for liberation! It’s time to be set free to be all you can be! It’s time for the broken hearted to be healed!