In the past few years there has been a lot of attention given to the quote by World Vision’s founder, Bob Pierce, who said, “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” The popular worship band, Hillsong United, included that now famous line in their song, “Hosanna”. Christian bloggers around the world, including myself, have written posts around this phrase. It is at once both beautiful and powerful. In the last year or so, I am hearing and reading this quote repeated more and more. Yet as I look around the world, I am seeing changes for the worse and not better. Is this just the latest catch phrase (think, “WWJD – What Would Jesus Do”) or do we honestly yearn for God to break our hearts?
I’ve been doing a lot of reading about modern day slavery and human trafficking. It is sickening and gut- wrenching to read about the lives that so many are forced to lead. Unsuspecting individuals from around the world are lured into the domestic, agricultural, and sex trades. They are convinced they are being given a chance at a better life, an opportunity to earn an education and enough money to send back home to help their families. Instead they find themselves in a foreign country without documentation and an inability to speak the language or comprehend the legal system.
Every day, 2500 children die due to a lack of clean water. It is estimated that 16,000 children die every day due to hunger related issues. In all, poverty, hunger, and preventable illness and disease claim the lives of over 21,000 children every single day. According to a Market Watch story, Americans spent $705.9 billion on entertainment in 2004. Since that figure is eight years old (and before the golden era of iPhones, iPads, and enormous flat screen televisions), it is not too much of a stretch to imagine it probably hovers close to $1 trillion dollars today. The United Nations said in 2008 that it would cost about $30 billion dollars a year to end world hunger. I’ll let you do the math.
So are our hearts really breaking with the things that break the heart of God, or are we merely giving lip service to issues that should make us wail in anguish? If our hearts truly broke when we encountered injustice or when we saw a person in need, we would not be faced with the statistics above. Children are dying and we are praying that our favorite sports team will win the big game. Young people are being sold, abused, and humiliated while we purchase the products of their labor to bring comfort and enjoyment to our lives. Our hearts aren’t breaking. They are not even being concerned.
If our hearts broke for what broke the heart of God, we would be standing up and crying out against injustice, against poverty, and against sickness. We would put our money where our mouth is and dive in head first to begin solving these problems. Before you sing “Hosanna” next Sunday in church, ask if you can sing it with a clear conscience. Ask yourself if your heart truly breaks for what breaks the heart of God. If not, stop singing. Don’t claim something you don’t believe. Instead, repent with me of the horrors that are happening on our watch. Join me in devoting the rest of our lives to fight injustice and to spread the love of Jesus throughout this world. It is our duty. It is our mission. But will it be our passion?