When Our Hearts Should Be Broken

A Broken City

A sermon idea based on Jeremiah 8:18-9:1.

Jeremiah 8:18-9:1 NRSV

[18] My joy is gone, grief is upon me, my heart is sick. [19] Hark, the cry of my poor people from far and wide in the land: “Is the LORD not in Zion? Is her King not in her?” (“Why have they provoked me to anger with their images, with their foreign idols?”) [20] “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” [21] For the hurt of my poor people I am hurt, I mourn, and dismay has taken hold of me.

[22] Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of my poor people not been restored?

[9:1] O that my head were a spring of water, and my eyes a fountain of tears, so that I might weep day and night for the slain of my poor people!


The relevant topic I would be addressing, based on this text…

There are certain seasons and occasions when our hearts absolutely should be broken over the conditions in which people around us are living, spiritually, physically, economically, and otherwise.


Information about the text that matters to the message…

Jeremiah wept over his people, Israel. He identifies with the nation to whom he speaks and bears out in his prophecy that his heart is devastated about their spiritual condition.

His example highlights the difference in how we can see the world around us – as a friend, or as an adversary. With eyes of love or eyes of loathing.

When we see our world in its spiritually broken condition with eyes of loathing…

  • We become prone to self-righteousness
  • We construct a false us-versus-them mentality
  • We distance ourselves from those who need our message most
  • We fail to reflect the heart of Jesus, who weeps over the lost

And unfortunately, we’ve spent multiple generations of churches convinced that they have the moral high ground as well as a calling to speak with judgment and condemnation upon people created in God’s image.

If you’re going to be a prophet, be a prophet with a broken heart, not an arrogant spirit.

When we see our world with eyes of love…

  • We see everyone around us as made in God’s image
  • We value relationships more than being right about divisive issues
  • We are motivated to live on mission to enlarge God’s family
  • We echo the example of Jesus

You’ve probably heard that our ethics provide the credibility from which we speak truth to our surrounding culture. But ethics are merely the minimum. For the message of the gospel to do the work for which God gave it, it needs to be shared by people who genuinely love those who need the message most.


The big call-to-action in the message…

Search your heart for any ways in which you’ve come to see yourself as superior to those who haven’t yet personally discovered the grace and goodness of God.


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About the Cover Art: Photo by Jordan Opel on Unsplash.

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