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The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18 (NLT)

Tragedy brings people together. Earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes and the devastation of conflict or famine awaken a part of us that says, “I’ll help you”. Those motivate to help aren’t limited to social class, race or ethnic groups or religious orientation. In fact, sometimes those who are the most financially insecure are the ones who will give more (percentage-wise) than the wealthy.

All of that is good, but sometimes the biggest hurts people experience are the ones where they suffer alone. A broken heart doesn’t show itself in public. We’ve learned how to hide that behind a false smile, and various activities like drugs, new relationships, political and social action or even religion. Some people spend their entire lives doing ‘things’ to try to cure the pain of a broken heart.

Perhaps one of the hardest things to deal with in relation to a broken heart is that we often suffer alone. Oh, we have friends and neighbors who bring food and comfort during times of mourning and illness. There’s often community and government help to rebuild houses and businesses destroyed by natural disaster. But while that may help soothe the pain, it doesn’t cure the pain.

All the food and all the human comfort and all the financial support in the world won’t heal a broken heart. That’s where Jesus comes in. Well meaning friends and compassionate governments can restore physical property, but only Jesus can come alongside you and completely understand your pain. He may not remove the obstacles in your life, but he can give strength to endure in the battle.

It was Jesus who stood beside the mom who’d lost her daughter. It was Jesus who wept over the death of a dear friend. It was Jesus who stood by the desperate father of a demon-possessed, seizure stricken little boy. It was Jesus who brought hope to the woman at the well, a victim of broken relationships, who’d not only had five husbands, but after five divorces she could no longer take the chance of failing again.  It was Jesus who provided the food for over 5,000 hungry men, women and children. He calmed storms, gave hope to the crippled and restored those victimized by religious intolerance.

What is your struggle today? What pain are you hiding because no one else understands? Jesus Christ promises to come along side you. He understands your pain like no one else. He alone can bring peace in the midst of your storm.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. Although I’m smiling on the outside for the world to see, my soul aches today. No one understands how I feel. I’m afraid to share my true feelings with those around me for fear of being misunderstood. Thank you for understanding me. Comfort me in my distress. In your name I pray, Amen.


For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. Matthew 7:2 (NLT)

One of the men I admire most was my uncle Bernard. Uncle Bernie was a quiet man with a generous heart. In all the years I knew him I never once heard him raise his voice or say a negative word about anyone. He was soft-spoken, gentle at heart and generous. He didn’t have a large house although he had money, his home was modestly comfortable. Uncle Bernie died in the same way he lived, quietly falling asleep as he listened to his favorite baseball team on the radio.

Uncle Bernie has been gone a long time but his testimony lives on in my mind because he was probably the most non-judgmental man I know, next to Jesus. I don’t remember enough about Bernie to know what made him tick; what it was that made him so accepting of other people, but that part doesn’t really matter. What matters is that he was a man who knew Jesus and showed Jesus love in how he treated others.

Jesus taught us not to judge others. He showed us acceptance of other lifestyles when he reached out to the woman caught red-handed having sex with another woman’s husband by telling her she wasn’t condemned, even though she deserved death.

He showed how to accept people when he made a point to stop at a well so he could meet up with a woman who’d failed five times at marriage and finally decided to ‘shack up’ with man number six rather than go through the whole marriage/divorce cycle. She was so ashamed she went to the well when she ‘knew’ she’d be alone. But Jesus met her at her most lonely time in the loneliest place because he accepted her even though he couldn’t tolerate her lifestyle.

If Jesus were here today I think he’d visit people you and I avoid like the plague. The person living the gay lifestyle would find a friend in Jesus. The imposter who lives behind a disguise of religion while they battle with drugs, alcohol or pornography would feel his touch. The abusive father or stepmother, the guy with at tendency for road rage, the vindictive gossip. All can find acceptance and healing when they come to Jesus.

Jesus doesn’t ask us to accept those different than us, he requires it. Through the power of his Holy Spirit I can find the strength to accept those who make a mockery of my faith. Because of his nail scarred hands I can find acceptance and healing in the midst of my struggle with sin. I want to be like him. I want to show his love like my uncle Bernie did.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. I see in scripture how you have reached to others. I ask that you would do a work in my soul. Forgive me and heal me of the struggles I’m enduring. Empower me to live for you and to reach out to those around me. Help me to accept those who mistreat me, drag your name through the mud and mock your name. I pray this in your name, Amen.

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