Tuesday, November 3, 2015

"Why Was My Heart Broken?"

What do you do when you are asked an implicit question? We all face them at times, often when we’re talking to a friend and they are struggling with something. They want to understand it, they want to feel like life has a purpose and this current cloud will clear. They want you to offer some form of comfort or explanation. But they cannot quite come to the point of asking outright what they should be doing or feeling. What do you do then?

I ask because I struggled to decide whether I should even write and post this article. I am writing it for some friends who have had these questions, but I am being presumptuous in offering the beginnings of an answer. After all, they haven’t actually asked for one. Also, I do not know how many of them will actually see this. I could not bring myself to send it to them directly, unsolicited as it is.

This risks the ridicule that comes with speaking out of turn. I am not looking to be holier-than-thou, but it could easily be taken that way. And I do not have the ability to speak from experience, either. My prayer in writing this was for humility and compassion. I am only trying to offer a word of comfort, nothing more.

So if you are reading this and you are one of my hurting friends, I hope this helps. Or if you are a stranger to me, but you are going through a similar struggle, well I hope this helps you, too. Here is the question, as I see it. “Why was my heart broken?”


I have been fortunate so far not to suffer this myself, but I recognize it is only a matter of time. It is a human rite of passage. Life is incomplete without love, but deep love requires deep vulnerability. And at some point, sadly, that vulnerability will lead to loss.

That loss can take a thousand forms. Sometimes it is the result of betrayal. Sometimes one partner’s feelings are not as strong as the others. And sometimes the love is truly shared, but mortality intervenes leading to separation. In whatever variant it occurs, heartbreak is the outcome when we lose someone we love so strongly that we feel we cannot live without them.

I’m not here to tell you to “just get over it.” Your feelings matter. You are in pain and that pain is valid. It is honest. It is real. No one should ask you to pretend it isn’t, or that it will just go away. That isn’t how things work. It leaves a mark that lasts, and becomes a part of you. You have to be allowed to own it, or it will fester in your soul.

That is one side of it. Denial can make things worse. But it is also possible to go too far in embracing the pain. It can drown out everything else you hear, and wash out everything else you see. It may make my advice difficult to heed. I hope you can hear me, though. You are more than your heartbreak. You are more than the person you lost. Experience the pain, but do not let yourself be consumed by it. Things will not even begin to improve until you can begin to experience the rest of the goodness in your life. The end of one relationship did not undo everything else. I promise you that.


So your suffering is real, but it is not all you have. I hope it helps to hear that. I know it does not answer the original question, though. Why was your heart broken? I believe I know the answer. But it may be hard to hear. Please try to understand it, though, and know I am not writing it from a place of judgment, but one of love.

Heartbreak occurs because of something the Bible refers to as “lust.” When we hear that word, we tend to think of strong sexual desire. That is part of it, of course, so it is easy to assume that is where I am going with this. You would be wrong, though. Or you would not be entirely right, at least. Lust is not just sexual desire. It is inordinate desire, of any type. It is when you want something more than you should, and when you want something to give you more than it can.

With that definition in mind, it should be easy to see why sexual lust is such a damaging thing. Sex is so personal and passionate that it can easily become all-important. That is why God, in creating humanity, gave it its one appropriate outlet. Marriage is the one place it belongs, because it is the one relationship where people give all of each other to each other, not just physically but emotionally and spiritually.

Sexual lust often leads to heartbreak, whether before marriage or in one. But it is not the source of your feeling of heartbreak, when you are on the other side of it. That comes from a different form of lust, a different type of desire.

Before they broke your heart, you were looking to that other person to make you happy. To make you whole. But there was no way they could do that. You were desiring what they could not give. That doesn’t make it your fault. Their choices are their own, for one thing, and for another, we all look for fulfillment from things that cannot give it. I am not singling you out. I am just drawing your attention to it because you are in a better position than most to see the truth.

This is not about making you feel guilty. This is about letting you know, in spite of how you feel, that you do not need that person. You do not need them because they cannot complete you. When you feel as if you do, you are accepting a lie. That is what I mean when I say lust is the reason your heart is broken. You desired more than what you ought to have expected.

Again, we are all like this. When it eventually happens to me, I hope someone will point me back to my own words here. And even if it has not happened to me in a matter of the heart, I have desired other things that have led down a similar road. We are all looking for fulfillment.

Finding Fulfillment

Which should tell us something. We are all born with desire. We want to survive, to be comfortable, to accomplish, to possess, and to love. But no matter how much we have, we want more. And when the things we have fail us, we feel hurt. Nothing in this life can truly satisfy.

If they cannot satisfy, then that is not their purpose. They are incomplete because they are not meant to complete. Still, we find this desire to be complete within ourselves. What does it mean? C.S. Lewis put it this way:

Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.

You were made for more than the person who broke your heart. You were made to find your true self in something more than another imperfect human being. You were made to be whole, but to be whole in something truly amazing. In nothing less than the perfect love of God Himself.

That is the purpose of life. Relationship with God is the highest good. It is why we exist. Unfortunately, we have trouble accepting that. We look elsewhere, which only and always leads to pain. If you have experienced heartbreak, then surely you can understand that. But God is not like your lost love. “He will not leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6). He will never betray you, because He is perfect and faithful to His promises (2 Timothy 2:13). In Christ, and in Christ alone, we can be complete (Colossians 2:8–10).

Heartbreak is a terrible thing. I am not asking you to pretend otherwise, and I am not trying to make you feel worse. Don’t feel guilty. Just see the truth. Let your pain point you to it. God is calling to you through the hurt. He wants you, and wants to be with you. Accept that love, and you will find all you need and more. He will never fail you. And He alone can help you. As Psalm 147:3 says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” So let Him heal you. Accept the wholeness offered in Christ.

Maybe you feel like I have no right to talk. Maybe you feel like the pain is just too great to get past. Maybe you even feel like God is part of the problem. I hope not, but I thank you for at least hearing me out. And I hope something I said will help you. Believe it or not, I care about you. God cares even more, infinitely more than you can imagine. He allowed His own heart to be pierced on the cross for the love of you. Don’t let that love pass you by. It is the one thing you can never desire too strongly. Let Him put the pieces of your heart together again, and you will find the joy you have never known and always wanted. Guaranteed. 

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