beauty in brokenness

Our society doesn’t embrace brokenness. Somehow it needs to be fixed, and the sooner the better. The leading candidate of one party for the upcoming presidential election is popular in part because he would not only never acknowledge such, but doesn’t believe in it. But Jesus did. Even if some of us, and even some churches might to some extent get caught up in something of an unbroken superiority complex.

Give me the real, the human, the honest and suffering person, and there you will find someone who not only can be helped, but who more often than not enters into a beauty that is beyond them. Simply to be honest and reject all masks is beauty enough. There is a person I know who is up there in years, and supposedly has the cognitive ability of a two or three year old, and while I may not doubt that, I think assessing this person is more complicated than that. And even though she may not be pretty to look at, as the world sees it, I find her to be one of the most beautiful people I know, because she radiates and lives in the childlikeness which the Lord holds dear. “Except you change, and become like little children, you will never enter into the kingdom of heaven.” And in our brokenness and humility, something of the greatest of all beauty can begin to break through: the beauty of the Lord.

Part of the difficulty in this condition is that although we’re close to being in rhyme with heaven, we are also close to being in rhyme with hell (Michael Card). I can find myself there a number of times everyday. Pushed onto that side for whatever reason. So that I realize I need more of the Lord’s work in me to overcome that. Perhaps too little in my eyes, and at least largely hidden from others most of the time, but important in God’s eyes, and as we learn to see more and more with God’s eyes, it becomes more important in our eyes as well.

Yes, we need a broken and contrite, humbled, penitent heart, because we indeed are broken. The ones most broken are those who don’t believe they are. But brokenness can be beautiful, when before the Lord we acknowledge such, and his beauty begins to be seen through forgiveness and cleansing, and even in the midst of our struggle and weakness and even failure. It is certainly not us we want others to see, but only the Lord.

no exceptions

How often at least in the past did people have roast pastor for Sunday “dinner” (today, lunch) before they could simply change churches? Or more likely before dinner on the way home? Often we see our homes, or our spouses, or close friends as safe havens to get off our chest what we really think of so and so. Even if we “sanctify” that with language of concern.

Of course there are times when we may do well to share a struggle with a spouse, close friend, or trusted spiritual adviser. But by and large we do well to not do so hastily, but rather bring it to the Lord. In this way we can practice some spiritual discipline. Our goal is to be sure not to slander anyone.

Our lives weaken and are not true when what we practice at one place is not what we do in another. This can be blatant hypocrisy. Of course none of our lives match up completely with our profession of faith. We do sin. And yet, narrowing that gap is part of our spiritual growth.

The point of this meditation is that if something is wrong somewhere, it’s wrong everywhere. And if it’s good to do something somewhere, then it’s likely good to do that everywhere. Of course we need the leading of the Lord in the dynamic of the Spirit.

Life change will come only if it’s across the board, no exceptions. When we do fail, we confess and repent. With the goal that we want to do better. That we do not want to brook any sin.

Of course this all begins in the heart. When I sense or know sin is present there, or the temptation to sin, I often will repeat the Jesus Creed, as well as the Lord’s/Our Father prayer. Over and over. I find that helpful. Along with the commitment in grace to do better. All of this with others in Jesus. Following him together in God’s love and for the world.