“My heart is broken within me; all my bones tremble. I am like a drunken man, like a man overcome by wine” (Jeremiah 23:9).
I read with deep sorrow the reports of the gang rape in India and of the protesters carrying signs that read, “It could have been me!” My heart was broken within me.
I read later of the rape in Ohio. I watched the video of the boys joking and laughing about it. All my bones tremble. It made me very sad to think how warped that boy must be that he should be brought to tears laughing at a woman’s humiliation and pain.
We should be drunk with sorrow that women are not safe to ride buses, to walk streets, or to party with “friends.” Our hearts should be broken; all our bones should tremble that these things occur at all. I have a mother. I have a sister. I have a wife. I have dear, dear, dear friends for whom I tremble. It could have been one of them.
Tonight there are fathers, brothers, and close friends of victims who probably struggle with rage. I struggle with rage for these strangers.
Try as I may, I cannot simply dismiss those men on the bus or those boys in the Ohio high school as beasts or monsters. They are not beasts, not monsters, but, sadly, human. Human! They are the more obvious signs of a fallen world. They are the broken bones that pierce our conscience. They are the worms eating at us, the cancer that has finally made us nauseous. These men, these boys are the symptoms of a deeper sickness within each of us.
The human heart is “deceitful above all things and beyond cure” (Jeremiah 17:9). We need only read the news to confirm this truth. Rapes and shootings provoke hopelessness and despair because we suspect that there is more to come. We have exhausted all options to cure the human condition.
We cannot incarcerate enough;
we cannot kill enough.
No form of therapy has worked;
no form of medicine is sufficient.
But Jesus the Messiah calls saying,
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).
Weary and burdened describes the gathered masses in India, describes the mourning friends and family in Ohio, and describes you and me here. Weary and burdened we come to “drink without cost from the spring of the water of life” (Revelation 21:6). “Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life” (Revelation 22:17).
Of course our hearts crave vengeance, and there will be that (Romans 12:19). But our very souls desire not greater or more efficient punishment—we want an end to the offenses. We don’t just want better policing, we want pure hearts that fear God enough not to transgress. More encouraging that God’s promise of vengeance is His promise to make all things new. This is our only true hope, that those hearts of stone would be softened. We desire the fulfillment Ezekiel 36:26:
“I will give you a new heart
and put a new spirit in you;
I will remove from you your heart of stone
and give you a heart of flesh.”
I read these words with great hope. What if our hearts could be transformed from stone flesh? Who then could so callously rape and kill?
Those who come to the water of life will have their calloused hearts softened. They will have compassion all everyone they see. They will not harm anyone. Such surgery is the only answer to this cancer and right now the body is dying.
Amen! Come Lord Jesus (Revelation 22:20).