The one thing we all seem to have in common is the experience of hurt and pain. Look no further than the first story on any news website or newspaper and it will more than likely be detailing some kind of tragic event happening here or abroad. In our own circle of friends we are aware of those going through trials and tribulations, struggling to make to the next day. Even we, if we are honest, go through things almost daily. And yet, if you look at our social media pages and see us on the street, it would seem as if everything is OK. No one wants to take off the mask for fear of being seen and judged for who they really are. And what are we? Sinful humans devastatingly affected by creation’s fall from grace. The Bible calls all of us dust, here today, gone tomorrow. But if hurting is so common, then why is it so rarely spoken of?
Sadly, this type of mindset even sneaks its way into the church. I am a part of a ministry at my church that caters specifically to people struggling with their personal brokenness and the effects from it. It’s not at all uncommon to hear someone walk up and say “Hi, I’ve been cheating on my spouse for years and I’m hiding an alcohol and depression problem.” Now at first that may seem very weird. No one goes up to strangers and immediately talks about the issues they go through. But if the venue was instead an ER unit, would we not expect people to walk up and explain the exact nature of what is hurting? No one would look at them strangely or ask why they were doing that. Because an ER is a place that hurting people are expected to be hurt. Because physical pain exists, so do ERs. And because spiritual pain exists, God has raised up the church through Jesus to be a place of healing for brokenness. And yet Sunday after Sunday we line the halls of the sanctuary with fake smiles, half-hearted “how are you”s, feigned I’m-doing-fine’s, entering and leaving as if we are ok. But we aren’t, are we. Sometimes our world crashed and burned on Saturday night, and we can’t be expected to act like it didn’t on Sunday morning. We were not meant to act like things are ok. We were not meant to act like we have everything put together. Because in doing so, we are acting like we don’t need a Savior.
In Mark 2 we find Jesus being Jesus again. He just shut the Pharisees down by forgiving a paralytic man of his sins and telling him to rise and walk. Afterwards Jesus calls Levi, the tax collector, to follow Him. He goes to Levi’s house and is found by the Pharisees hanging out with tax collectors and an assortment of other sinners. Not learning their lesson the first time, the Pharisees ask among themselves why He would do such a thing. This is what Jesus replied in verse 17: “ And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (ESV). Jesus is telling them one of His reasons for coming to Earth. To save sinners. Now the pharisees were sinners too. So wouldn’t Jesus be talking to them as well? Maybe, but there was something that separated the Pharisees from the people Jesus was hanging with. These people hanging with the Messiah knew and admitted they were sinners. When your friend says something like “I know I’m going to hell man”, that’s the kind of person Jesus came for. The Pharisees, on the other hand, were white-washed tombs, trying their best to look pretty on the outside but full of maggots and rot on the inside. And that is exactly what we are when we try to act like everything is fine. We are essentially saying we don’t need Jesus. We are saying that we aren’t one of those that Jesus came for. We are saying we don’t need salvation. Before you think that’s a stretch to say, look at the verse again. He said the healthy don’t need a doctor. But we established earlier that we are all broken, a notion confirmed again later in Romans 3:23, that we have all fallen short of the standard of holiness and God’s glory. None of us are healthy in and of ourselves. So in a sense, everyone is broken. But not everyone knows or will admit it. Jesus came for the ones that know and will acknowledge it. You do yourself only harm to walk around this earth and act like your life isn’t on fire sometimes. And in doing so you negate yourself from seeing the amazing work of God as the ultimate Firefighter. Jesus came to save. Let Him save you.
Here are 3 things on being broken:
We are all broken – We all can agree we are not perfect. And if we can admit that, then we can admit that we are all broken to some degree. The faster we can admit that, the faster we can stop walking around with these ugly caricature masks of our real selves. When sin entered the world, everything was fractured. We are descendants of that event. It’s ok to not be ok, because none of us are really ever fully ok.
Our being broken connects us to Christ – Christ knows what it’s like to deal with the broken state of this world. Although without sin, He undoubtedly walked this Earth fully aware of how far from Heaven He was. He smelled the difference in the air, stepped on the unevenness of the ground, and felt the instability of the temperature. He felt it all. He has seen tears and cried His own. He has watched grief in others and suffered from it Himself. He has felt isolation, rejection, anxiety, even death. He knows how broken we are. And He knows He defeated our brokenness. Don’t be like Adam. Don’t hide your brokenness when God calls. Instead, limp towards Christ with it.
Tell someone – I know it may seem like we don’t have people in our life that seem willing to listen to our junk. But I have learned from experience that once we start sharing, it’s contagious. And we see quickly that we are not alone but instead that we all share the common thread of brokenness even if our pieces break differently. If you are a child of God, there is no condemnation for sin anymore. You are free to share and be known fully. Christ is now our hope. There is no need to despair in isolation.
As the church, the body, let’s be more hospital than courtroom. Let us be a place that welcomes brokenness, not because we have the answers or the ability to deal with it, but because we have the permission to drag every weight to the foot of the cross. Everyone hurts. Let’s start acting like it.