Sept. 22, 2015

JCS 025: Can Your Brokenness Really Be Beautiful?

JCS 025: Can Your Brokenness Really Be Beautiful?

Listen as John talks about our brokenness and weaknesses and what we can do with them.


Can Your Brokenness Really Be Beautiful?

Find out what John thinks in this episode.

As a therapist I often see and hear stories that would break anyone’s heart.

Parent’s weeping over the condition of their child or the state of their family. 

A mom sobbing over the fact that her child is depressed and miserable after suffering years of abuse.

A dad riddled with guilt for failing to foresee that his own son would attempt suicide.

A little seven-year-old boy saying that his life is over because he feels that he must choose sides in a bitter divorce...

...all stem from brokenness.

As I talk about this I am struck with the question, “What does it mean to be broken?” 

A simple search in a Thesaurus reveal definitions such as “run down”, “kaput”, “out of order”, “not working”, and “wrecked”.

I don’t know about you, but when I come across a machine that I rely on for coffee, a restroom, or anything else that I need or want, and it’s “out of order” I’m not happy. 

In fact, it could ruin most of my morning, especially if it’s coffee that I can’t get!

None of us enjoy things that are broken, how could we?

If something doesn’t work it’s a huge inconvenience to our daily lives.  If we buy a product that’s broken we take it back to the store. 

If we have a computer that crashes or it’s too old, we are quick to discard it and get a new one.

But, what if we are the one that’s “kaput”?  What if someone we love is “wrecked?”  What then? 

Unlike a product, we can’t take it back and get a new one, no matter how bad we may want to.

The longer I am a therapist the more I am convinced that all of us are broken in some way.  It’s just that some may seem more broken than.

No one is perfect, everyone is fallen.  Our brokenness is a result of our sin, and being sinned against.

Stop Judging other people’s brokenness

Our sinful nature tends to rear its ugly head when we are quick to judge or point out someone else’s weakness doesn’t it?

How easy it is to think that you’re thankful that your child doesn’t behave that way, or have feelings of contempt when someone is critical of you.

I remember when my wife and I had our first child, Anna.  She was a very content baby, rarely causing trouble . . . her terrible two’s never came.

My wife and I would often see other children get out of control, become rowdy, and disrespectful toward their parents, and we would think, “Boy, we must really know how to be good parents.”

Then God humbled us with our son, Noah.  We knew that he would be a high maintenance child from his earliest beginnings in the womb!

Don’t get me wrong, our son is an awesome child, but I am positive that many parent’s looked at us and thought that we should be better parents because of his impulsiveness and lack of self-control when he was younger.

Like I said, we’re all broken, but some people’s brokenness is just a bit clearer!

Who is it in your life that you are quick to judge their brokenness? 

Maybe you are a teacher and you misinterpret your student’s brokenness as bad behavior or simply as a thorn in your side.

Perhaps you have that one co-worker that is always getting on your nerves.  Or maybe, you have a very needy friend or family member that can’t stop calling you.

I’m confident that you’re thinking of someone at this very moment – someone that you have a hard time getting past their behavior and seeing their brokenness.

Reflect on your own brokenness

Think for a moment about your own brokenness.  I know nobody wants to intentionally think about their brokenness, but trust me, I think you may find it helpful.

Usually there is an outward behavior that’s masking brokenness. 

Is your outward behavior over eating?  Prolific gossip? An addiction of some kind?  Anger? An obsession? Fear of rejection?

Whatever your outward behavior may be allow it to enter your mind and stay there for a moment. 

Reflect on your brokenness.  Weep over it if you want.  Tell God that you hate it if you want.

Don’t beat yourself up.  You may have tremendous guilt and regret over your brokenness, but don’t go there. 

God is a God of forgiveness.  God invented forgiveness after all! “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” Romans 8:1 This verse includes self-condemnation!

 WARNING: I want to offer a warning here.  You may have experienced horrific events in your life and this may become very painful for you to reflect on.  You may want to talk to a close friend that you trust or a counselor before you go on..

Brokenness usually originates from one of three factors; biological, environmental, or situational.

 
For some, brokenness can be biological or hereditary; such as depression, anxiety, and other disorders. 
Or, brokenness can be a result of environmental factors such as poor living conditions and a hostile or chaotic lifestyle.

Brokenness can also develop from situational factors such as abuse, neglect, trauma, loss, etc. Whatever the cause, brokenness is still brokenness, and it cut’s deep.

The Bible has a lot to say about human brokenness.  Words found in the Bible such as despair, anguish, and suffering poignantly describe brokenness.

From Genesis to Revelation the Bible talks about human brokenness.  The moment sin entered the world was the moment that brokenness began to crush the human spirit.

You don’t have to read much of the Psalms to see how the writers are broken before God.  The story of Job clearly shows brokenness; how can anyone recover from such loss?

James tells us that we should consider it pure joy whenever we face trials of many kinds. The apostle Paul says we should “boast” in our weaknesses.

How can these men say such things?

Where does James get off saying that we should consider it pure joy when we face trials of all kinds?

It seems obvious that James does not really know what he is talking about.  Or, what about Paul? 

We’re supposed to boast in our weakness – preposterous!  They must not really know that much about brokenness, right? Wrong!

The above examples, and countless others found in the Bible, know more about brokenness than we will ever experience, thank God for that!

The apostles were tortured beyond comprehension, and they suffered greatly, yet they could still place their hope and confidence in God in the midst of their suffering.

I think that this is the key – to be able to place our hope and confidence in God in the midst of our brokenness.

This is why, as a therapist, I can say to a young woman who was raped, “There is hope even when all hope seems lost”.

This is why I can say to a single mother of two whose life seems to be crumbling around her, “Hang on, this too shall pass”.

This is why I can say to the father whose son attempted suicide, “Your son will feel good again.”

I can offer, without a shadow of a doubt, the hope of Christ no matter what ones brokenness may be, because Christ himself was broken for us!  

“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:3-5

Perhaps the best illustration of how Christ sees our brokenness can be found in the book Hinds’ Feet On High Places, written by Hannah Hurnard.

In chapter 12 of this allegory, Shepherd (Jesus) is talking to Much-Afraid, a woman walking on her journey of suffering.

Isn’t this great news?  Can you believe this truth, that God sees us as what we will be when we are with him in heaven, rather than just as we are today?

I for one am glad that God does not give me what I truly deserve. 

Isaiah 61:3 says something similar, “ to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.” 

Now What?

At this point there is not much more that I can say about what you can do with your brokenness.

You have already admitted that you have weaknesses, you have reflected on those weaknesses and on your brokenness.

Now, I would suggest that you take those weaknesses and your brokenness to God.  Let God lighten your burdens and rest in him alone.

 

This is what Jesus says to you. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29.

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Thanks for listening, I truly feel honored that you tuned in. I would love to hear from you.

Your friend,

John

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Website: www.johncordray.com

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