A Heart Like Jesus“I see you. I feel your brokenness. I know you are hurting, and I will not leave you to carry this pain alone.”
“You have a heart like Jesus,” my best friend told me as I wept in his arms. His words were intended to comfort, but they only made my tears flow more quickly.
If that was how Jesus felt, I wasn’t sure I wanted to share His heart. It hurt too badly, and I was overwhelmed by the burden. Earlier the same weekend there had been an attack in Paris which took the lives of over one hundred people. Even from thousands of miles away, the violence had wounded me deeply.
I didn’t know any of the people directly involved in the massacre, but it felt incredibly personal. Almost two years earlier I had lost a friend in a school shooting, and it permanently altered the way I understand inhumanity. Each time a violent crime is headlined on the evening news, I relive the night my mother’s trembling voice delivered the tragic news that my friend had been shot. I am taken back to the hospital where I stood by my friend’s bedside while she lay comatose not knowing whether I would ever see her smile again. I can hear the sinking in my mother’s voice while on the phone, and feel my stomach drop as I realized our prayers for recovery had not been answered. News of death constantly breaks my spirit because I know the shattered and lost feelings of so many family members and friends. Days after the Paris attack, I wept because I was carrying the pain of thousands and knew there was nothing I could do to help them rebuild.
Over the weeks, months and years following that evening, shootings at concerts, churches, and schools have brought me back to those simple yet profound words: “You have a heart like Jesus.” I have wondered if crying out in sorrow really reflected Jesus’ heart. I find myself asking what Jesus’ heart truly looks like, and how it can be recognized in myself and others. When those tears were running down my cheeks, I hadn’t seen them as particularly beautiful or meaningful, so why had someone else interpreted them as such? Yet each time my heart is broken, and my eyes are clouded by the pain I know others are experiencing, I am brought back to this humble truth: my Savior wept. He wept when His friends were mourning the loss of their brother, a man Jesus knew would soon be raised. He wept because He understood their pain, and in His mercy would not leave them to feel it alone.
I have found no greater comfort than knowing God realizes my afflictions. He feels what I am feeling and chooses to sit with me in that place. He does the same for every one of His beloved children. When my friend’s life was taken, God’s heart broke the same as mine. His heart broke for the boy who took his own life after taking hers, and it broke for all of us left behind to suffer their losses. He wept when life after life was taken in Paris, right alongside everyone who had the privilege of knowing and loving them. He looks down on creation and sees His treasured people being disregarded, abused, and belittled. He feels every individual’s desperate need for help when depression and self-doubt threaten to overwhelm as if it were His own burden to shoulder. He hears the cries of starving children and their mothers who have lost hope, and He cannot control the tears which flow from His eyes. My God sees all this, and He cares. Every time I weep over the brokenness of this world, my heart looks a little more like my Father’s.
My Savior was not the type to run away from pain and protect His own heart. He walked right up to brokenness, looked it in the eyes and declared it loved. He did so with the blind man and the hemorrhaging woman. His compassion went out to the man possessed by demons who had been deemed an outcast. He took lepers and prostitutes and the most well-known sinners in His arms, and His heart broke for and with them. Because He did, none of them were ever the same.
It is easy to fall into the trap of believing we are alone. For many nights after my friend passed, I felt there wasn’t anybody who knew my pain. We are quick to forget nobody has experienced greater grief than our Father above who willingly sacrificed His only son so our multitude of sins would be forgiven. No one can better empathize with our hurts than the One who gave it all, so one day we will be freed from this bondage. We are never left to weep alone. Each tear we shed is mixed with a tear from the One who loves us so. In calling us to reflect His nature, God has asked us to sit down with His people and say, “I see you. I feel your brokenness. I know you are hurting, and I will not leave you to carry this pain alone.” By this, they will know His heart.
Christina Roberts lives in Littleton, CO and currently works in Digital Outreach for a Christian organization.