Brokenness. John Smith talked about it in one of his sermons. Brokenness. That feeling that washes over you and hangs on tenaciously as constant evidence of your failures pummel you from every side.
Brokenness is a good thing. It is where all repentance, redirection, and restoration begins. Without brokenness, how can we hope to heal? It’s like a tumor… it can be cut out of us, eaten away by powerful drugs, shrunken and then killed by heavy doses of healthy foods and supplements, but if left alone, it’ll eat away at you until it kills you. However, if we remove that tumor, going through the pain of surgery, the misery of chemotherapy, or the long illness while natural means slowly works to heal, it’ll be painful and miserable but the result is true healing and health.
I can remember some of my broken times.
- The day I realized that my self- “righteousness” was truly putrid and filthy.
- The day I reveled in vindication… instead of weeping for the one who tried to hurt me.
- When, at seventeen, I stood before my brothers and sisters in Christ and lied. Deliberately.
- When I realized that a character assasination attempt made the “gunmen” look vicious… and gloated.
And finally… more recently…
- When injury by others made me weep more for them rather than me.
Am I finally growing up? I don’t know. I doubt it. I’m a very selfish and weak person. I feel like Paul in that I don’t do what I want to do and do what I don’t want to do. I am wicked, evil, and … broken.
Brokenness hurts. No matter what the cause, whether our repentance or another’s injury, it hurts. Perhaps it’s growing pains. Those aches in the middle of the darkest hours of night making sleep impossible. Remember that? Oh the aching and misery. (Ok, so I never felt it myself but my tall girls sure did ache. Braelyn cried with the pain.)
The older I get, the quicker I am to forgive, to move on, and to extend grace. To everyone but myself anyway. However, the older I get, the more I take to heart, every single one of my many failures. They weigh heavily on me and yet there is nothing I can do about them. Once failed, I can’t change it. I hate that.
And in the midst of all of the pain that we can inflict on our own lives, is the pain that others inflict on us.
“Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
I remember as a young teen. Oh boy I was like Marianne Dashwood. “Suffer for righteousness? What could be more glorious!”
Oh how naive I was. The older I get, the more I realize how naive I truly was- both in what true persecution was, and in how petty my little grievances would be in the grand scheme of things. Don’t get me wrong; it hurts when someone makes false accusations, erroneous assumptions, attributes evil motives, or tries to shift their blame onto me. Usually, there is blame on all sides of anything which is why, I think, it hurts even more when you’ve worked hard to avoid doing the very things that you’ve been accused of doing.
Regardless of fault or blame, what really matters is our heart. If our hearts are cold with self-preservation, self-righteousness, or just plain self, then they show the natural state of man before redemption. If we’re redeemed… washed clean by the blood of Jesus… they should not show self but reflect Him. Only Him.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t always work does it? We get self in front of that mirror and hide the Jesus waiting to shine through. Self. It’s at the root of so many things. Is it possible that self is the root of pride? Self?
And brokenness. Is that how we die to self?
I don’t know. I do know I’m broken again. It used to grieve me that I was broken. It just shows that my brokenness still had too much of self in it. I think. I don’t know. Now, I’m broken over many things. Some my fault, some because of pain inflicted on me by others.
Will I grow through this as I have in the past? I hope so. It breaks my heart. Then again, I guess that is what it’s all about… Brokenness.