Today I am Broken

The deadly war in Ukraine, black bodies remaining to be buried after the racist killing in our backyard, and now more slaughter of children. My heart can't take this. I feel so weak and helpless. I can't fathom the experience of the victims, the trauma God's creatures are experiencing, the loss yet to be grieved that rests heavy on the shoulders of the innocent. 
It's all so evil. This is sin at it's fullest, broken and traumatized people, people who have been hurt terribly whose pain has distorted their mind so far that they believe the destruction of human life is going to improve theirs. My heart is shattered by the brokenness of it all. By the way pain creates pain which creates more pain and each generation carries the burdens of the unhealed wounds of the last.
Lord have mercy. Free us from this cycle.
As a pastor I feel a responsibility to lead change, but I am no policy expert. I want to DO something about this evil, but it is so much larger than me, so much larger than us. So I bring it to God who is all powerful and all knowing and cry out like the Prophet Joel.
"Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep. Let them say, “Spare your people, O LORD,  and do not make your heritage a mockery, a byword among the nations. Why should it be said among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’ ”
~ Joel 2:17 (NRSV)
Lament for evil must always come first. Speaking the truth of what has been and what is. Lament, for the pain that has spread like a virus, infecting the unexpecting, for the helplessness of the victims. And then, while the laments remain on my lips, I notice and recall the pain in my own heart. I am broken because of the brokenness of others and yet others are broken because of my brokenness. These children were killed by a victim of brokenness who chose to release his pain on the innocent rather than heal from it himself.
I cannot control others; I cannot decide the trajectory of their lives; but I can seek change.

I will refuse to become another "sick" murderer on whom we wonder whether to show compassion or judgement. I will bring my wounds to the altar and allow God to change me, to heal me. I will seek help from professionals like pastors, therapists, counselors, spiritual directors. I will share my pain in community and refuse to isolate out of fear. I will face my demons for the sake of the next generation. I will carry the hope that Jesus conquered death and that my own healing is always possible, including healing from wounds yet to be inflicted.
So where is God in all this? God is right here inviting us to tremble, not at the evil of others but at the evil flowing out of the shattered pieces of our own hearts. God is here, eager to offer life- saving treatment, yet our "thoughts and prayers" are often too busy demanding someone else fix the problem, demanding someone else to change, demanding our voice to be heard. Our hearts are in shambles so we guard them with loud words and demands, yet the healing power of God is here for us if we would only open up our damaged hearts to it. May our thoughts and prayers not only invite God to help (ie. fix) others, but to invite God to heal us so that the people around us do not suffer at our hands.
Jesus Christ does not offer a gospel of self-defense, but of self sacrifice. Good news that invites us to come and suffer for the sake of others and in the vulnerability and humility of that suffering be completely healed by the grace of our creator.

Today I am broken, here is my heart friends, here is my heart lord, make it right.

Ryan Rovito

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