Broken hearts in broken people …

Did you know it really is possible to die of a broken heart?

Linda Wasmer Andrews reported the following in Yahoo Health in 2013:

“Broken heart syndrome” isn’t just Valentine’s Day hyperbole. It’s an actual medical condition, also known as stress-induced cardiomyopathy.

    In broken heart syndrome, extreme stress brings on heart attack-like symptoms, such as chest pain and shortness of breath. This isn’t just an anxiety attack. The heart is actually in serious distress. At times, the person may experience irregular heartbeats or cardiogenic shock — a condition in which a suddenly weakened heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s demands. In rare cases, broken heart syndrome can even lead to death.

I don’t personally know of anyone who has literally died of a broken heart, but I have sat with many, many people who felt like their broken hearts were killing them.

In nearly three decades of conducting clinical therapy, a large portion of the people I have ministered to have sought help for hurting hearts that were harmed by others. The issue of human beings hurting each other isn’t just my clinical experience, it’s the story of humanity since the first couple wandered together in the Garden of Eden. They would break their relationship with God. From there, one of their sons would hate his brother so much he would murder him out in a field.

It hasn’t gotten any better since.

We’re still hurting each other, and suffering broken hearts. That’s in spite of Jesus making so clear — and so simple to understand! — that all God’s commands can be boiled down to two things: love God, and love others.

When I was younger, I enjoyed watching on PBS specials the lively and animated speeches of “Dr. Love,” also known as Leo Buscaglia, an author, motivational speaker, and professor in the special education department at the University of Southern California. Leo was an Italian who spent his early childhood in Aosta, Italy. He sounded Italian, and “used his hands” as he spoke passionately. I still remember a heart-felt plea he made to an audience: “If you won’t love them, don’t hurt them!”

Take five minutes and listen to the stirring words of Leo for yourself …

God especially cares for those with broken hearts …

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed,” Psalm 34:18

“He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds,” Psalm 147:3.

Many will not heed Leo’s advice that if we’re not willing to love others, at least don’t hurt them. We will not get through this life without being heartbroken. But know for sure that the Lord, who knows by personal experience what being hurt by others is like, is close to you and desires to bandage your wounds and heal you.

Just as you don’t want to suffer from a broken heart, be mindful not to hurt others. Instead, give your attention to allowing the Holy Spirit to empower you to love others — all others — with the love of Christ.