Psalm 51:16-17: ‘You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.’ In this scripture, David the psalmist tells us here is that firstly God is not interested in externals. Although sacrifices and offerings are necessary He does not want them to be first and foremost. If external practices of religion are all we have in our lives then God takes no pleasure in them. They are only superficial. He looks below the surface at the heart, motive, and attitude.
He tells us that the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: “A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” What is this ‘broken spirit’ that God desires? He does not want to crush us, beat us down or humiliate us. If we have a broken spirit it means we have come to the end of all our independence, self-will and self-righteousness; the end of our own resources, a place where we have no hope but in God; we turn to Him for His mercy and faithfulness, clinging only to Him not our own merits.
There are many experiences in life that can break our hearts such as disappointments, deaths, hurts, failures, and so on. At such times we may feel lonely and forsaken. The wonderful promise is that the Lord is close to those who are ‘broken hearted and crushed in their spirit.’ The Lord Jesus is close to us at such times. We must allow him to heal our broken hearts.
What does scripture tell us? Psalms 34:18: Isaiah 57:15 – “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted saves the crushed in spirit” Matthew 5:2. – “Blessed are those who mourn…” Psalms 147:3 – “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” The Lord heals our broken hearts and wants us to minister to others who are likewise experiencing the same. Whenever we experience brokenness in life, we are in a position to be used by the Lord to minister healing and restoration to the broken hearted. The wounds of Jesus minister healing into our lives and through our brokenness into the lives of others if we allow Him. Instead of mourning over heart breaking experiences, we must see the possibility of using them as a channel of healing to others with the compassion and love of Jesus.