A "Radical" Life
Striving to live a life less-ordinary.

asking God to break your heart

The most powerful bridge of any song I know is in the middle of a Brooke Fraser song called "Hosanna":  

"Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like You have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks Yours
Everything I am for Your Kingdoms cause
as I walk from earth into eternity"

My son, Elijah, is especially obsessed with this song...to the point where, some days, he asks us to play it every 30 seconds...literally.  Frankly, it gets annoying.  We're often saying, "NO Elijah.  No more for today, okay buddy?"  We sing it to him before putting him to bed every night.  But hey, at least it's a song we love!

I've gone from singing it repeatedly just to get him to go to sleep, to actually worshipping as I hold him.  It's a pretty sweet deal to hold your child and worship the God who put him in your arms at the same time.  The song has become a nightly prayer for me.

When you pray for God to break your heart for what breaks His, or to see people the way He sees them...watch out.  It will cause friction in your life.  It will require change.  It will get uncomfortable and require sacrifice.  And people will probably think you're misguided, too emotional, or just plain crazy.  Probably all three.

Erin and I began praying for these things a few years back, and He responded.  He began opening our eyes to see people the way He sees them, and it wrecked us.  He pointed out several passages of Scripture we had conveniently ignored or reasoned away, because they required too much.  And we made some seemingly significant changes in response.  But, as we often do, we fell back into our old habits.  After all, it was a lot easier the old way.  We got sucked back in to complacency and justifying, of comparing ourselves with others instead of Christ.

Thankfully, God has been not-so-gently reminding us lately of what He once laid on our hearts.  

At the end of Schindler's List, you see Oskar Schindler breaking down, wishing he had done more.   Here's the dialogue from the movie:

Oskar Schindler: I could have got more out. I could have got more. I don't know. If I'd just... I could have got more. 
Itzhak Stern: Oskar, there are eleven hundred people who are alive because of you. Look at them. 
Oskar Schindler: If I'd made more money... I threw away so much money. You have no idea. If I'd just... 
Itzhak Stern: There will be generations because of what you did. 
Oskar Schindler: I didn't do enough! 
Itzhak Stern: You did so much. 
[Schindler looks at his car] 
Oskar Schindler: This car. Goeth would have bought this car. Why did I keep the car? Ten people right there. Ten people. Ten more people. 
[removing Nazi pin from lapel] 
Oskar Schindler: This pin. Two people. This is gold. Two more people. He would have given me two for it, at least one. One more person. A person, Stern. For this. [sobbing] 
Oskar Schindler: I could have gotten one more person... and I didn't! And I... I didn't! 

That's a pretty good way to describe how Erin and I feel right now.  Some, who don't know better, tell us we've given up plenty.  While we have made some very small sacrifices, we still have far more than we need.  The rub for us comes not from feeling like it's wrong to have those things, but from knowing that we could help more people if we were willing to live without them.

Please hear me on this:  It's not that I think it's wrong to have nice things, as if it's some sort of sin.  It's just that I can't bring myself to do it anymore.  This newfound love for others won't let me, daggonit!  It's not a result of feeling guilty.  I'd just rather help someone else instead of helping myself.  It's simply a response to the grace and love He's shown me.

1 John 3:16-18 says this: "...we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.  If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?  Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth."

The ugly truth is, I have seen my brother in need.  And I have material possessions that could be used or sold to help him.  And I haven't done it.  Which begs the hard question: Then how can the love of God be in me?  May sound harsh, I know.  But hey...not my words.  That's just what the passage says.  Besides, how can I really argue with it?  I know it's true.  If I have chosen "things" instead of "people"...well, that's not exactly a replica of the way God loves, is it?

Why do you think Jesus had "no place to lay his head"?  (Matt 8:20)  Or that he mentioned that fact in response to a disciple telling him he'd follow him wherever he went?

Why did Jesus tell us the story of the "sheep and the goats" in Matthew 25?  "For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me...I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for the least of these, you did not do for me...Then they will go away to eternal punishment."  It's pretty hard to argue that Jesus didn't mean that literally.

Why does Isaiah 58 tells us that if we want for God to hear our prayers, we need to "loose the chains of injustice...to set the oppressed free...share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter--when you see the naked, to clothe him...spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed..."

Oh, I could go on and on.  I don't claim to have it all figured out, and I certainly don't judge anyone who thinks differently than me.  Erin and I are just desperately trying to figure out what we're supposed to do with all this, because we're pretty comfortable and pretty bad about showing love to those around us (as opposed to just saying we love them).

The bottom line for us is that we must do something.  Something more than what we're currently doing.

We asked God to break our heart for what breaks His and to see people the way He sees them.  And as a result, we simply can't continue to just give a list of reasons as to why it's "okay" to have things that have zero kingdom significance.  Of course we could justify it all away...and maybe even use Scripture to back it up!  That's not the point.  He has opened our eyes to see the needs of those around us.  Plain and simple:  Either we respond to those needs by making some "sacrifices," or we continue to ignore them.

The "love your neighbor as yourself" commandment means loving everyone.  We're to love the rich, the poor, and all in-between.  We're to love old people and young people, white and black, believers and unbelievers, good looking and ugly, brilliant and mentally handicapped.  All.  The way God loves us.  And loving them means more than just saying we love them, but showing we love them ("not with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth").  We're not too bad at showing love to the people who are like us; who we relate to the best.  But what about the rest?

I challenge you to earnestly and consistently start praying for God to break your heart for what breaks His and to help you love others the way He loves.  See for yourself.

Jeremiah Smith

Jeremiah Smith


I'm striving to live a life less-ordinary. As followers of Christ our lives should not look like everybody elses. We should be more giving, more loving, more passionate, more sure, more...radical. But we're not. We blend in and desperately want to fit in. This blog is my journey toward to a "radical" life that doesn't look like the rest of the world.


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Atlanta, Georgia, United States
A Hoosier, a Buckeye and two Rwandans out on a mission to serve the world. Missionaries for Rwanda through AFRICA NEW LIFE MINISTRIES. We are entirely donor-supported, so if you'd like to partner with us through prayer or finances, we would LOVE to set up a time to chat!