rebelling against low expectations

Don’t Close Your Heart To Manchester


The world hurts.

But not as much as it should.

Because honestly, I closed myself off, tried not to feel much over Manchester. Not because it wasn’t an utterly abhorrent thing, not because the loss of innocents isn’t tragedy, not because the inside of me shouldn’t cry at such loss, but because I shut myself off from the pain. There’s too much — I don’t want to feel.

Something inside cries that I’ll be crushed if I do. Because month upon month, week upon week, day upon day, some new horror overwashes us.

I don’t want to acknowledge it. I don’t want to accept it, because then I must accept too that our world is shattered.

This place where we thought at least children are safe — it doesn’t exist. This world where people’s lives were respected — it’s not here. Our world, our towns, our homes, man himself, is shattered.

And looking back we realize that perhaps that’s all it has ever been. Throughout the ages, there have always been Auschwitzes, there have always been Twin Towers, there have always been children sold as sex slaves. Our world is terribly, utterly broken, skewing wildly side to side, and tilting our head to make it all look fine is futile.

And we try so very hard to deny it. We live in our nice communities, with our homeowner’s restrictions and our white picket fences and our painted front doors with locks to ensure that the wickedness is kept out — but the problem is on the inside.

It’s not the Hitlers out there, it’s not the terrorists out there, it’s not the traffickers out there.

It’s the hatred in here.

The lust. The lies. The anger, the selfishness, the lurking green monsters that are inside each of us. There’s no escape from the horrors, we are them. Just look in the closest mirror.

We are the shattered ones, sacrificing people for careers, truth for lies, love for some sense of fun. Like the Aztecs of old, we slay all on the altar of ME, but it’s our own hearts we’ve cut out. Our world is shattered, and we’re the ones who’ve done it.

Mankind is utterly, completely broken, the world along with him. We ask why, seeking to point fingers at the mistakes of others, placing the blame on some previous decade. But we’re not going far enough. We’re not searching deep enough, and we’re not looking far enough back.

The fault isn’t with the neighbors, education, terrorists, or the government; we didn’t go wrong in the 90’s, the 20’s, or even the 1800’s; we’re not looking far enough away nor close enough to home. The answer is both at the infinitival distance and the closest proximity — the beginning of time and depths of our soul. Because both made the same choice. Both are shattered by the same wrong.


We’ve chosen, both in the beauty of the Garden and the twistedness of our heart, to rebel. To love the darkness over the light. To love created things over the Creator. And so we’re shattered. When a glass tears itself out of its purpose and the hand that holds it, it’s destroyed. And we’ve taken the rest of the world down with us.

We’ve shattered our world. We’ve shattered our souls. We’ve shattered ourselves. What left is there to put us back together? And who even would if they could? We chose this; and by all justice, if a man makes a mistake, a man should have to remedy that mistake. Only a man can fix mankind’s mistakes, but we can’t, we’re broken and have no power. Man is broken and nature is broken, only something outside of both can right them. The patient doesn’t remedy himself, the glass has no glue of its own.

A man must fix our shattered brokenness. But only the Man can.

Do we see now how imperative His humanity is? Without it there is no just remedying of man’s wrong. Do we see now how imperative His Deity is? Without it there is no power to remedy man’s wrong. The only one who should right this is man, the only one who could right this is God. And the only one they intersect in — Jesus.

He saw the shattered, broken, raw and bloody mess that we’ve made of ourselves and our world. And He said, I’ll take the blame. I’ll take the punishment. I’ll take the curse. He paid the price for man’s wrong, that He might offer men His right.

He made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Cor 5:21)

Do we see the cost of our sin? We shattered ourselves, we shattered Creation, and the Godhead voluntarily shattered himself for a moment, just to win us back. How awful a wrong, how glorious a love!

But that’s not to say that the wrong overpowered the love. True, yes, Love willingly gave Himself, His life, up for the wrong. But wrong was not victorious. Sin could not hold Him, the grave could not keep Him. Bursting forth in the glorious light of a new day, Jesus rose again, now enthroned on the right hand of majesty on high, coming soon to rule and reign with His saints. Love has won, the Light has overcome, and the song of the Lamb we sing.

The world hurts. But not as much as it could.

Because if this was all there is, if there was no hope of seeing loved ones again, if there was no promise that all would come right in the end, if we were forever entrapped in our brokenness and sin, then all would be hopeless. We’d be left only with our bombed concerts, our torn families, our crumbled hearts. But — through Jesus — that’s not all there is.

We are lost. But He offers us the way. We are in darkness. But He offers us light. We are slaves to our schedules, our safeties, our sins; but He offers us freedom and an eternity of being rulers with Him.

We are shattered. But He offers us wholeness.

Will we take it?

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About the author

Isabelle Schweitzer

Isabelle Schweitzer (formerly Ingalls) has been a Rebelutionary since she was 15—learning how to trust God's faithfulness and do hard things as she wrote, walked through several international adoptions with her family, ministered at-risk kids, and mentored teens at camp. She now lives in South Carolina with her husband, where they continue to do hard things as they finish seminary, raise their new baby girl, and lead their church's youth group.


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  • It’s so hard to know how to process events like these. Thank you for your insightful words, Isabelle. They point us back to Christ in this time.

  • Isabelle, this is beautiful! Your adoration of Jesus shines through here. And what a timely topic. I too, struggle with knowing how to respond to these events. They’re too heart-wrenching, that opening ourselves to them could as you say, “crush us.” But how incredible it is that Jesus has overcome even the deepest sorrows in the world. Thank you for showing us Jesus in the midst of this brokenness.

  • “And we try so very hard to deny it. We live in our nice communities,
    with our homeowner’s restrictions and our white picket fences and our
    painted front doors with locks to ensure that the wickedness is kept out
    — but the problem is on the inside.”

    Wow. Awesome. Great point. Good observation. As someone who preaches the Gospel, I often “step on people’s toes” to show them the truth about their own hearts, and this paragraph certainly does that, but in a proper and convicting way. Good job!

  • ‘It’s not the Hitlers out there, it’s not the terrorists out there, it’s not the traffickers out there.

    It’s the hatred in here.’

    Yes. Thank you for saying this because it is so true! Only Christ can conquer hate and it’s only through Him we can say, ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.’
    I absolutely love this piece!

    • Thank you! Yes! Our world doesn’t need a goverment change, an education change, a humanitarian change; ultimately, what we truly need is a heart change, a soul change, an eternal-state change. Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ can truly right our wrongs!

  • Great article! Love how you get to the heart of the issue – sin. The sin that is not just “out there”. But the sin that is inside each one of us.

    I also like how there’s no headings to break the flow. 🙂

    • Thank you! And that’s the sobering thing, isn’t it? The “there but for the grace of God go I” truth must urge us in our preaching the Gospel to absolutely everyone, for any could be redeemed just like Paul.

      “This is a rebellion[against low expectations], isn’t it? I rebel.” (Unless of course using headings are required. But I’m generally pretty bad at headings, because my muse loaths outlines, so I’ll just pretend I omit them consciously for asthetic reasons. :D)

  • This was really beautiful. I’ve had some similar thoughts and feelings but I didn’t know how to express them and this article fit it all into words. Thanks for that.

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →