Baltimore, My Confession - I Need to Hurt

"For the wound of the daughter of my people is my heart wounded; I mourn, and dismay has taken hold on me."  Jeremiah 8:21

We are confused by the information.
We are fearful of the images.
We are inflamed by the rhetoric.

But we are not hurt. 

Someone in Baltimore is wounded. Someone is Ferguson is wounded. Someone in Charleston is wounded. Someone in New York City is wounded. Scores of people have been wounded. 

But we are not hurt. 

It does not matter what I think if I am not hurt. A prophet has no voice where he has no heart. 

Jeremiah saw the wound of his people and his heart felt it. The problem with our current situation is that we are all being brutalized, but we are not all hurt. No heart. No voice. 

Our temptation is to rush to an answer. We want to be experts without the rigor study. Jeremiah exposed the folly of easy answers:

"They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, 'Peace, peace,' when there is no peace."  Jeremiah 8:11

Easy answers are band-aids where there should be tourniquets. Easy answers come from our heads. There is no healing if we distance our hearts. 

We must be hurt. 

Baltimore is yet another example of how we are undone by Adam's sin. He chose to know good and evil. Now we know it. The problem is we cannot stop it. This is not a situation. This is a sickness - within us. 

And so we are wounded, but don’t want to be hurt. 

Stop telling me what you think the mayor should say, what the police should do, why black people act like that, or why white people don't understand. We should not talk before we cry.

I have nothing to say.  I lack counsel.  It doesn't matter what I think.  I need to hurt. 

We have no voice because we have no heart. Our ignorance is evident if you listen.  We are not heart-broken so we are mouth-broken.

This is not an issue for a city, for a race, or for an ideology.  This is not an issue at all. This is a gaping, bleeding, infected wound of depravity. All of us have been wounded. But why aren’t we hurt?

I repent of everything I have said about Ferguson or Baltimore and for every thought. I confess that I have watched it all but I have not been wounded at all. God, I am sorry that I have not been hurt. O Lord, give me a heart for the wound of my people. Give us hurting hearts that seek healing. I repent of trying to be a Joshua generation without having Jeremiah’s heart.  Heal us through the wounds of your Son. Give us a vision of Baltimore and Ferguson, of policemen and of black men, of injustice and accusation, of anger and brutality, of prejudice and pretense, through the lens of the cross.  Dear God, help me hurt.

"Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of the daughter of my people not been restored?"  Jeremiah 8:22

Brian Branam is the pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Dalton, GA (
and the author of #TheWalk.

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