Love and Loss
Even Christ experienced rejection from the ones he loved.
In the late 90s, the Men in Black (MIB) franchise debuted its first installment featuring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as members of a top-secret organization policing alien activity on Earth.
The film is filled with action-packed comedic scenes of Will Smith’s character Agent J and Tommy Lee Jones’ character Agent K fighting criminal aliens and protecting the galaxy from malicious activity.
I remember when watching MIB for the first time as a kid, there was one scene that burned itself into my memory. It comes early on in the film as Agent J stumbles upon Agent K looking longingly at a grainy liveshot of a woman outside her home. J, realizing she’s a past romantic connection of K’s, begins to tease his new partner about the woman. K, realizing he’s been found out, quickly cuts the livestream.
Eventually J says, “You know what they say. It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” K replies assertively, “Try it.”
It was the kind of scene I’d remember forever, because for the first time, I was introduced to an entirely new concept about love. It was the reality that a person could find someone they love, lose them, and never be the same.
Suffering is frequently discussed in Christian community, but the specific intricacies of human heartbreak in romantic relationships often go unaddressed. Despite that, love and loss is something that almost all of us will experience at some point in life — whether it be through death, divorce, or a difficult breakup.
In light of that reality, what does God’s word teach us about our broken hearts?
We must first look to the example of Christ as a man of sorrows. While Christ never married, he experienced intense rejection from those whom he loved — even to the point of death. His life example demonstrates the Biblical truth that we serve a God who is acquainted with our grief (Isaiah 53:3). Our God knows what it is like to be lonely. There is no heartbreak or rejection experienced on this Earth that he himself has not felt.
We must also rest in the assurance that our God is a God who brings new life from death. Christ in John 12 tells his disciples that unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a seed; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Ultimately this truth is revealed in the death and resurrection of Christ. But we must also understand that our little — and sometimes very big — sacrifices will be used by God to bear new fruit both in us and in those around us.
Lastly, we must offer our broken hearts to God. In the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul writes, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship.” What does it look like to offer our hearts as a living sacrifice?
In the presentation of our bodies to Christ, there is no part of us that can be left behind. Offering up ourselves means offering up our hearts and all the hopes, dreams, and disappointments that come with our lives and relationships.
When we experience heartbreak, we are able to give our losses back to God through prayer and rest in the assurance that he is making all things new. In God’s goodness, he absorbs our losses and uses them for our ultimate good and his glory. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4, “For our light and momentary affliction is producing for us an eternal glory that is far beyond comparison.”
Heartbreak is never easy, and when we experience love and loss, we are never the same. But because of Christ’s work on the cross, we can offer our heartbreaks to God and allow the changes it brings in us to be used for God’s glory.
Dominique McKay is a Women's Ministry Associate in Washington, D.C.