The Sin of a Broken Spirit
Proverbs 15:13 “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” In this verse, we find two things that are broken: a broken heart and a broken spirit. There is a difference between the two. A broken heart is not sin, but a broken spirit is sin.
Proverbs 17:22 shows, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”
In Psalms 51:10 David said, “Create in me a clean heart, O God: and renew a right spirit within me.”
Psalm 34:18 discloses, “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart….” God is close to those who have burdens. If you have a broken heart, you are the object of God’s special care and love.
Psalm 51:17 tells us that God will not despise those with a broken heart, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”
In Luke 4:18, we read the account of Jesus’ first sermon. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to...heal the brokenhearted....” Someone once said that he who preaches to broken hearts would never want for a congregation. In every church there are people with broken hearts; parents whose children have broken their hearts, children with their hearts broken, people whose hearts are broken because of a serious illness, and many other people with broken hearts.
According to our text verse, the danger of a broken heart is that it can lead to a broken spirit, which is sin. A broken-hearted person can keep on going, but a broken-spirited person cannot keep going unless he gets right with God. Why? Proverbs 18:14 says, “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?” According to this verse, the spirit of a man sustains him, or keeps him going.
In Proverbs 17:22 we read, “…a broken spirit drieth the bones.” This verse tells us that a broken spirit causes you to give up hope. A person with a broken spirit feels he cannot keep going, while a person with a broken heart knows that times are hard, but he can make it.
A broken spirit says there is no way; a broken heart says he does not know the way, but he knows there is one.
A broken spirit sees her husband gone and feels she cannot go on; a broken heart loses her husband, but she keeps on going.
A broken spirit says, “I can’t, so I won’t.” A broken heart says, “I can’t, but I will.”
A broken spirit says, “I can’t do it,” but a broken heart says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
A broken spirit says, “There is no way to win.” A broken heart says, “We are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”
A broken spirit says, “I am a failure,” while a broken heart says, “I’ve failed, but I’ll try again.”
Proverbs 18:14 promises, “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity.” It is not your heart that keeps you going, it is your spirit that keeps you going. The spirit keeps you going when your heart is sick or broken.
A person with a healthy spirit will not be stopped by sickness. A person with a healthy spirit will not stop when he is criticized, or when people gossip about him. A person with a healthy spirit will not stop when he is wounded, hurt, crushed, or forsaken.
On the other hand, a person with a broken spirit has nothing to keep him going. He needs a healthy spirit to help him get back up, to help him find the way, and to keep him going.
You cannot avoid a broken heart, but you can avoid a broken spirit. A broken spirit is a sin just as drinking is a sin. It is a sin just as cursing is a sin. It is a sin just as smoking, committing adultery, being a homosexual, committing idolatry, and looking at pornography are sins.
With a broken heart, Job passed by the caskets of his ten children. With a broken heart, he watched his wealth obliterated in a matter of moments. With a broken heart, he suffered a serious illness; then his wife urged him to curse God and die. His friends turned on him, but his spirit was not broken, only his heart. Because his spirit was not broken, he was able to say, in chapter 13 and verse 15, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him….”
A broken-hearted Jeremiah became discouraged and quit the ministry. He bought some ground and built a cottage. However, he kept reading the Bible, and his spirit regained its health. His spirit began to burn in his bones like a fire. He realized that he could not quit, and he started serving God again!
A broken-hearted Ezekiel watched his baby die. Then he went home and found his beautiful wife dead. His heart was broken, but not his spirit; thus, he was able to get up the next day and preach.
With a broken heart, David realized he had sinned. He asked God to mend his spirit, and he continued serving God. Jonah’s heart was broken, but his spirit was not broken. After he disobeyed God, he was able to get back on his feet and go to Nineveh. Then he preached the greatest revival in the history of mankind.
A broken-hearted Peter, repentant of his betrayal of Christ, preached on the Day of Pentecost, and three thousand people were saved and baptized. A broken-hearted Samson, betrayed by Delilah, killed more men in his death than he had killed during his lifetime. Adoniram Judson, broken-hearted over the loss of his wife and children in Burma, kept on going and winning souls.
My heart has been broken many times, and I have often felt like quitting. My wife’s health is poor, my grandson, R.G., has many physical problems, and we have a baby granddaughter in Heaven. However, my spirit has not been broken, so I have been able to keep on going.
Your spirit communicates with God. The more you communicate with God, the healthier your spirit is. You cannot expect to have a healthy spirit if you ignore your Bible and neglect to pray. Your spirit depends on your communication with God. Your spirit will sustain you, give you strength, and bring victory to you. There is no reason to have a broken spirit. How can you keep your spirit healthy?
Talk with God more than with man
Do you rise early and talk to God? Do you tell Him that you love Him? Have you spent time in His Word? Maybe you think you have too much to do to talk to God, but you had better make time to talk with Him.
Avoid negative and critical people
When someone tries to tell you that he does not like something at the church, walk away from him. If someone gets angry with you and mistreats you, let God take care of it.
Run with spiritual people
Do not spend time with people who are disgruntled, who tell dirty jokes, etc. Spend time with soul winners, and people who are separated from the world.
Protect your spirit
Learn to enjoy life. Quit getting mad at your pastor. If there is someone in church who would ruin the service for you by sitting beside you, then you need to get right with God. Quit getting angry about things.
Everyone will have a broken heart at some point in their life, but it is not required you have a broken spirit! You need to get right with God! Your husband or wife needs you, and your children need you. Your Sunday school class and your bus route need you. Your ministry needs you, and your converts need you.
Make up your mind that you cannot do anything about a broken heart, but you can avoid a broken spirit.