When we hear the words “broken heart,” we often think of a relationship that’s been broken, and it’s usually in reference to the person who’s been wronged in the relationship. For example if a husband cheats on his wife, it’s the wife’s heart that is broken, not the other way around. But what if the offender’s heart broke instead?
When David sinned with Bathsheba, he penned one of the most heart-wrenching Psalms in the Bible.
Psalm51 is a desperate cry for forgiveness, not to Bathsheba’s father Eliam, who was one of David’s mighty men who spent years living in a cave with the would-be king; nor to Uriah the Hittite’s family, another mighty man who lived with David for years and had been given a house near the castle; nor to the other mighty men, David’s friends who were surely shocked to learn David had their mutual friend Uriah killed; but David desperately pleaded for forgiveness from God.
David cries out:
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. (Psalm51:1-4)
While I’m sure that all those other relationships were deeply affected, David was heartbroken that his actions had caused a rift between him and God.
David ends the Psalm with the following:
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you donor take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Psalms51:16-17)
Just like David we’ve all done and do things that mess up our relationship with God, and it breaks His heart when we do, just like the spouse that’s cheated on in the analogy above, but what if those things broke our heart just like they broke David’s?
The Bible says, “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm34:18) God loves those who repent with a broken heart because they’re not worried about the consequences of their actions, offering sacrifice so they don’t get cursed or die, they’re worried about messing up their relationship with God—they care how He feels.
Are there things in your life that are negatively affecting your relationship with God? Have you considered how He feels about them? Perhaps it’s time for a little heartbreak.