Judy and I recently attended a memorial service for “Skee” (Lloyd) Green. He had been married to Judy’s cousin, Nancy. Skee became active when I became pastor of Bethany Lutheran in Remer, Mn. He was then in his early 70’s and had not been active in a church. He started attending every Sunday and came to know the Lord. He was one of my biggest encouragements. It was a joy to watch Skee grow in his relationship with Jesus. Skee was soft-spoken, but sincere, so I know when he talked of his growing faith in Jesus it was real.
Skee was a fix-it-guy. People would bring him broken parts from mechanical devices of every sort. His specialty was welding and shaping metal People thought he could fix almost anything. But Skee would say the one thing he could not fix, was “a broken heart.” When I heard of that comment, I know I had to write a blog about the broken hearts of men. Healing of my broken heart has been a significant part of my journey. I have felt a called to be involved in the healing of the hearts of men, because I watched my aging father die of a broken heart.
Men tend to be fixers. But when it comes to matter of the heart, we can not find a fix. Why? Jeremiah helps us understand. “The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out….[But God] gets to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, and not as they pretend to be.” (Jer. 17:9-10 – Message). Our sins separate us from God, others and ourselves. This brings real pain. We can not mend the fragmentation. We pretend to be competent, while living with a broken heart. We do a lot of pretending to dull the pain.
Only God can fix or heal a broken heart. The Psalmist tells us, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Ps.34:18). “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Ps 147:3). What God looks for is the surrender or the sacrifice of a broken heart. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Ps 51:17). We sacrifice by giving God all the broken pieces of our heart. We trust him to put it back together. Our heart is his to heal.
In fixing a broken heart we, of course, have to see the problem . It will be painful, but we have to face the reality of our brokenness. The Psalmist talks of “groaning all day long.” But then he could say, “I acknowledged my sin to you, and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’ – and you forgave the guilt of my sin” (Ps 32:5). He depended on God’s mercy. “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord; O Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy” (Ps 130:1-2).
So open your heart to the Lord. Be honest as the Psalmist. “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 you sight” (Ps 51:3-4). He was open about his pain. “So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within my is dismayed” (Ps. 143:4). I have found the Jesus Prayer, based on Mark 10:47 to be helpful in my walk with the Lord – “Jesus, Son of God, be merciful to me a sinner.” It is a daily and continual prayer on my journey.