Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Broken and Contrite Heart

Today I listened to a song called "Better Than a Hallelujah" by Amy Grant. The line in the song, which the title is based off, is "The honest cries of breaking hearts are better than a hallelujah." Now, before I tell you why i disagree with this, I will say that I have a decent amount of respect for Amy Grant and the work God is doing through her. My point of this is not to bash her or the song particularly.

I disagree that God views a broken heart as more beautiful than a hallelujah, unless of course that hallelujah is "going through the motions" and fake. Then yes, God prefers honest brokeness to false praise. I have found that God highly values us being honest and personal with Him; that's exactly what being in the light is all about. God does not prefer broken and contrite hearts to being glorified and praised as He deserves (unless being glorified and praised comes from brokeness, mentioned in next paragraph).

God of course cares about broken hearts. "The sacrifices of our God are of a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, Oh God, you will not despise." (Psalm 51:17) God not despising a broken heart, and being receptive of a broken spirit, does not mean He actually prefers it. Many times in the Gospel of John Jesus says "_____ in order that your joy may be complete." The one way I am possibly wrong in this is that the sacrifices of our God are of a broken spirit. So, I take this to mean that we are called to suffer as Christ suffered, and as well we are called to rejoice and be comforted as He rejoiced and He was comforted. Notice that the ends of our suffering are joy and comfort. Christ died and was raised from the dead. He was murdered on the cross in order that He could raised and glorified.

My point is this. We must not use this verse as an excuse to remain broken. God the Father did not leave His Son buried and dead, nor did He "sort of" bring Him back or bring Him back secretly. He brought Him back in glory to eternal life and Joy at His right hand. We as God's children are not meant to live in brokeness our entire lives, and we ought not to accept that we are here. Yes, there is a time and a season for everything which includes pain and brokeness and suffering, but I fear that many people have accepted this not as a season but as a lifestyle, one which they do not know how to escape.

"Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, Rejoice!" God loves you enough to cover whatever sin you've committed and to bring you to Him, but He loves you far too much to keep you there. If you are suffering, let it be because Christ has lead you to that suffering so that you may endure and build character that leads to hope (James), and glorify His name. Don't let it be because you don't know how to accept Him and His love, and certainly don't excuse your suffering because of some unknown or foolish reason.

My last point. There are 3 views of happiness, at least according to what CS Lewis describes, and i've come to full agree with it (I believe it's in Mere Christianity). There are those who are trying to be happy through things other than God, and it's usually through some sort of pleasure in a sinful way (sex, drunkeness, etc.) Then there are those who have accepted that happiness is unachievable. They've given up all hope of ever being content, because they don't know Christ. Finally, there are those who are truly content and joyful because they find their joy in Christ. These are the ones who realize that there is pain and trials in this life, but that there is hope and peace in Christ. This third group is who you're supposed to belong to, and I hope that you do; but if you don't, keep seeking and pursuing Christ, seek truth. "Those who seek me find me."

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