Preventing a Broken Heart

Preventing a Broken Heart

James 4:1-6 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."

It was never God’s will for us to have a broken heart. James indicates that because of our sin of pride, selfishness, and a determination to rule our lives, we leave God out of our decisions and live emotionally. As a result, we will most likely suffer from a broken heart.

Even though a close friend or a family member can hurt us, we commonly associate a broken heart with a failed relationship with the opposite sex. God will use the experience, but it is better to trust and obey God when relating to the opposite sex and not suffer a broken heart. God gave us desires and He wants to fulfill our need for security, love, identity, and the deep longings of our heart. God is love, He created sex, and we need His apps to understand the difference between love and romance so we don’t suffer a broken heart.

ROMANCE: "A fictitious tale of wonderful and extraordinary events, characterized by much imagination and idealization; without basis in fact; an exaggeration or falsehood." - Webster's New World Dictionary.

LOVE: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Cor 13:4-7)

In light of these definitions, it is a drastic mistake to view romance and love as interchangeable words. Romance deals in fantasy rather than reality. Romance depends on the "setting," the weather, your moods and expectations - it depends on everything except commitment. Love, on the other hand, depends on nothing but commitment! Romance cannot meet the demands of real life, and it is a weak substitute for love. It is embarrassing to admit that in the Church as well as the world, romance is called "love." The evidence of this error is the countless number of broken and bitter hearts, not to mention the soaring divorce rate that destroys Christian homes.

The media - which includes radio, TV, magazines, billboards, Internet, etc. - is the main stage upon which romance parades itself as "love." It seems like romantic notions and dreams, in the guise of "I love you," are constantly bombarding us from every direction. We can get so caught up in looking for our Prince Charming or our Cinderella that we have unrealistic expectations of other people. (This holds true even for those who are already married.) If someone doesn't MEASURE UP to the media image of what a "real man" or a "real woman" is, we have a tendency to be disappointed or frustrated with them. This way of thinking and relating to each other is something that is encouraged from early childhood.

Here you have this tall, bronze, square-chinned figure of a man named Ken, along with his equally flawless and faithful companion Barbie. Both of them are perfect... perfectly plastic that is! As children play with these toys, they begin to place a special value on certain "measurements and features." And when they grow up, they will encounter a broken heart if they still find themselves trying to play Barbie and Ken, only this time with real people!

Do you want to know what a 'real' man is? A real man is a male person! And do you want to know what a 'real' woman is? A real woman is a female person. Placing unrealistic demands on one another is not only unfair, but also unloving. We must pull the plug on our media images and begin allowing each other to be who we are.

It grieves my heart when I see adults encouraging "romance" among young people with comments like, "You two would make such a nice couple!", and the pressuring questions that are asked - "When are you getting married?" or "You're getting pretty old to still be single, aren't you?" These questions are not only embarrassing, but unnecessary and worldly.

Pressuring single people into premature or unblessed relationships is very harmful. For it puts a rush on all aspects of a young relationship - a relationship which they should be entering into slowly, with their eyes open, and with much prayer. It is alarming to consider that our "good intentions" in match-making just might be making a potential disaster. Match-making is God's business, not ours! As Jesus said, Matt 19:6 “So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

If you are unmarried and considering the possibility of choosing a life-long mate, then let me caution you: Walk with your feet on the ground and your eyes on the Lord. Next to making a commitment to follow Jesus, the marriage commitment is without a doubt the most important decision you will ever make! You should not make it without God’s permission.

Our attitude toward marriage today is much too casual. In fact, many don’t bother with getting married. They make no commitment except to live together as long as the romance lasts.

"Love at first sight" or "falling in love" is all that is needed to throw out common sense and God’s counsel - leaving us at the mercy of our unfaithful emotions. This is the perfect set up to get a broken heart. When difficulty arises and our emotions don’t feel like we are in love, we will leave or break the relationship. This selfish and prideful attitude produces broken homes and bitter, broken-hearted people.

Love is a commitment, and no one can make a faithful and unwavering commitment to someone they don't know. Many attractions are completely foolish. Often people find themselves day-dreaming about someone they've seen at school or work. The day-dreamer begins carrying on an imaginary relationship in his head with this person. The entire basis of his affections is founded on what he fantacies that person to be like, instead of who they really are.

At other times, attractions can be more serious. Occasionally, our desires toward the opposite sex can seem overpowering. The only way to control these feelings is by drawing closer to God and making the right choices. Though it is not a sin to be attracted to someone, what you decide to do with that attraction can be. Since our romantic desires are often stronger than we are, the first thing we should do if we are attracted someone is talk to our Father about it. No, I didn't say, "Talk to your best friend about it ... " I said, talk to your Father in Heaven about it. Ask His permission. Oftentimes, we run to our friends because we want their approval. We long to hear them say, "Oh, the two of you would be so good together!" However, what we should be seeking is God's opinion - His counsel. Too often, we are afraid God will say "Wait..." or worse, "This person is not the right one for you."

If you really want to do what's right, then don't feed your desire, yield it to God. "Love can wait, lust can't." You should get counsel from a pastor, or an older brother or sister in the Lord who will tell you what you need to hear, not necessarily what you want to hear.

Prov 13:10 Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.

Godly counsel can prevent a broken heart by helping us see past our emotions. No one wants to enter into a relationship with someone who is fickle; that is, a person who is "changeable or unstable in affection and interest." Emotionally it is hard to see their fickleness, because the fickle person makes us feel so good. Fickle romance will say a lot of the same things that real love might say - "I love you only," "I'll love you always," etc. They will tell you they are committed so let’s go ahead and get physical; but they are not committed, for marriage is the commitment. When romance is the basis of any relationship, all that it takes is a good dose of reality to wreck the whole thing and break our heart.

I Cor. 13:7 says that love "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” On the other hand, I would venture to say that "romance bears nothing, is suspicious of everything, is always doubting, and can never endure for long!"

After all that I've said, I do not want you to get the idea that a marriage relationship is a "dry contract," entered into with no romantic feelings at all. Sure there is a place for romance within a loving marriage, but this romance cannot be the foundation of the relationship. We must look at romance within a relationship like the icing on a cake. Just try to imagine a cake that was all icing! Ick! Plus it won’t stand up. This is why Jesus said so much about building on a rock instead of sand.

Luke 6:47-48  I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.

I realize a lot more can be said about the differences between romance and love, but I hope you see the importance of why the two should not be confused. God has made available to us a love that "never fails," but many of us have confused it with our foolish romantic notions and desires. This confusion is a good recipe for a broken heart.

Furthermore, don’t make the opposite sex your god (the one who meets your needs). Let Jesus fulfill your deep longings. When Jesus is fulfilling all your emotional needs, then you can have a relaxed relationship with another person of the opposite sex.

When you meet someone special and you have sought godly counsel and have God’s permission to pursue a deeper love relationship with the opposite sex, God has some apps, some logical and loving limits to prevent broken hearts.

1 Cor 6:15-20 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, "The two will become one flesh." But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

God is a liberator. God wants us absolutely fulfilled sexually and otherwise to the highest degree possible.  Because we don’t believe this, we try to get fulfillment on our own outside of God’s limits. Therefore, we set ourselves up for a broken heart.

Everything we do with our body touches our spirit. The body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Sex is never just physical. Our body and spirit are intertwined.  Will we be joined to a harlot or to Jesus? God says the two become one body. Sex outside of marriage always damages the soul and spirit of mankind.

Therefore, God has loving reasons for limiting sexual behavior:

1. To prevent damage to us.

a. Emotional instability (will he still love me/will she still respect me, I’ll die if they leave me).

            b. Hardness of heart (ignores God and gives into the girl/boyfriend).

            c. Wounded spirit (separated from God, feel guilty, impure, and unrespectable).

            d. Wounded will (easier to sin the next time).

2.  To protect us from satan.

            a. Satan wants to destroy God’s perfect, wonderful, sexual plan for us. He doesn’t want to see us fulfilled.

            b. To disobey God worships satan, so immorality worships satan.

            c. God’s Holy Spirit protects sex in marriage, for there is heart commitment and mouth confession in marriage (like salvation). God makes them one at that moment.  Don’t play God and make yourself one with someone by having sex before marriage. There are consequences of disobedience or obedience.

  1. Outside of marriage, sex will produce guilt, fear, anxiety (from satan).
  2. Inside marriage, sex will produce freedom, love, peace (from God).

3. Another reason for God’s limitations is to maximize our intimacy. God’s highest pleasure sexually for us is intimacy with only one other person. The lack of intimacy spoils the experience.

4.  Another purpose of God’s limitations is to prevent adverse effects in marriage.

            a. We do not need experience (satan’s lie). We may need education.

            b. Experience before marriage brings fear and lack of trust that your spouse may not be able to control themselves when they are away, since they could not control themselves before marriage.

c. Past experiences bring guilt, flashbacks, memories, comparisons, and a loss of enjoyment with your spouse.

d. Bad habits are hard to break. Fornication before marriage makes it easier to commit adultery after marriage.

I hear people say, I’m not going to buy a pair of shoes without first trying them on, so it makes sense to have sex and live together before we get married. God never meant for us to try on people like shoes or clothes! What a cruel and selfish thing to do! Seeking a mate is to be done with much prayer and confirmation, and only after God's clear direction that we're called to marriage. God does not want our heart broken, nor does He want us to break someone else’s heart.

Prov 31:30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Another prevention for a broken heart is to concentrate on the person inside the body rather than pay attention to the outward appearance of the opposite sex. The body will change and fade, but the person you marry is the person inside the body. If the person does not exhibit the fruit of the Holy Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control), then they have no power or grace to love you unconditionally! Furthermore, you don’t have any business developing a committed relationship with an unbeliever.

2 Cor 6:14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

God does not think beauty is evil, how could He, He invented it in the first place! But beauty corrupted becomes harlotry. Be careful that you don’t act like harlots-parading yourselves, seducing with your eyes, and trusting in your looks to bring you love and acceptance instead of trusting in God and putting your confidence in Him. Also, be careful that you are not attracted by such harlotry. The things that are beautiful to God are not always apparent to the eye.

The world teaches us that in order to be loved we must be beautiful, sensual, and alluring. We are assaulted daily by billboards, books, television programs, movies, and magazines that teach us "a different gospel." Sure, everyone wants to be loved . . . but why, and by whom?

True beauty is Jesus and Him alone. Letting Jesus flow through us to others is the beauty that is pleasing to God. We are to adorn ourselves with good works, as servants of the Lord, vessels through which others can feel His touch on their lives. Such beauty never fades with age. Why would we want to substitute the world's counterfeit for the real thing?

True beauty radiates from the face of a godly man or woman. You won't notice much what they look like because you are attracted to Jesus in them. Shouldn't that be our goal? Let's allow Jesus to fully indwell us and let Him make us attractive to others as we divorce ourselves from the world and clothe ourselves with the righteousness of God. Let's also seek a mate who radiates Jesus.

Finally, I have some wonderful news for husbands. We can make our wives beautiful without the expense of an extreme makeover.

Eph 5:25-31 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church--for we are members of his body. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."

Treat your wife as you want to be treated. Perfect her beauty by reading the Word to your wife, talking about it, praying with her, loving her as your own body, and she will radiate the beauty of a bride who is loved.

I hope you can see how God wants to bless us and prevent us from ever experiencing a broken heart. If you are on the pathway to a broken heart or already messed up, then ask God to forgive you, and change your ways. God will prevent or restore a broken heart.

Eph 5:1-6 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person-- such a man is an idolater-- has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient.

If you have never made Jesus your Lord and Savior, then you are still under God’s wrath. Repent of your sin and confess Jesus as the Son of God. Give your life to Him in baptism and receive His life, the Holy Spirit, who will give you the grace and power to love unconditionally just like Jesus. At the same time, God will heal your broken heart.