Monday, July 17, 2023

broken, yet loved

 On my drive in to work Monday morning, I heard a couple of songs I've heard a bunch of times but haven't heard in a while. The combination stuck in my head and spurred thoughts I want to share. First the lyrics that stuck out, then my thoughts:

***

"There's a sign on the door, says, "Come as you are" but I doubt it

'Cause if we lived like it was true, every Sunday morning pew would be crowdedBut didn't you say the church should look more like a hospitalA safe place for the sick, the sinner and the scarred and the prodigalsLike me
Well truth be toldThe truth is rarely told
Oh am I the only one who says
 
I'm fine, yeah I'm fine oh I'm fine, hey I'm fine but I'm notI'm brokenAnd when it's out of control I say it's under control but it's notAnd you know itI don't know why it's so hard to admit itWhen being honest is the only way to fix itThere's no failure, no fallThere's no sin you don't already knowSo let the truth be told"
~"Truth Be Told" by Matthew West
(Songwriters: Matthew Joseph West / Andrew Jacob Pruis)
 
***
 
"I am the thorn in your crownBut You love me anywayI am the sweat from Your browBut You love me anywayI am the nail in Your wristBut You love me anywayI am Judas' kissBut You love me anyway
 See now I am the man who yelled out from the crowdFor Your blood to be spilled on this earth shaking groundYes then I turned away with a smile on my faceWith this sin in my heart, tried to bury Your graceAnd then alone in the night I still call out for YouSo ashamed of my life, my life, my life--
 
But You love me anywayOh God, how You love meYes You love me anywayIt's like nothing in lifeThat I've ever knownYes You love me anywayOh Lord, how You love me"
~"You Love Me Anyway" by Sidewalk Prophets
(
Songwriters: Ben Mcdonald / Dave Frey / Mark Delavergne)
 
***
 
There's a tendency for all of us to hide the broken parts of ourselves. I think that's especially true of Christians. Part of it is the valid fear that when people see the ugly, broken pieces of our lives, they might see those things as a reflection on God. After all, we are supposed to be His emissaries in this world. We are supposed to be reflecting Him in a dark world, and we are scared that our broken pieces will make the world think that the God we serve must be somehow broken.
 
The other part, though, is the part I think we all struggle with the most. As followers of Christ, we know that the Savior of the world died for each one of us. He chose to step out of the glory, praise, and splendor of heaven to come into this dark and broken world. When He could have called on the Father to send down 12 legions of angels to fight for Him, He chose instead to let those He had created torture and kill Him. He could have stepped off of the cross at any time, could have decided that none of us were worth it, but instead He chose to hang there with nails in His hands and feet, body ripped by whips, scalp and forehead pierced with thorns, struggling for every breath, in utter agony.

And we know that He did all of that for us.

That is an overwhelming thought because despite knowing all Christ did for us, we fail Him. Like Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, we keep doing things we don't want to do. We keep messing up. We keep denying Him and betraying Him. We do the wrong thing or say the wrong thing or turn away from the things we know we should be doing. We shake our fist at God, then we turn around and cry out for His help.

And do you know the amazing thing?
He still reaches down for us with a nail scarred hand. He still pulls us out of the pit, even when we dug the hole ourselves. He holds us close and tells us how much He loves us, despite all the times we mess up. He wipes the tears from our faces even though it was for us that He couldn't wipe the sweat, blood, and tears from His own face as He hung on a cross 2,000 years ago. Even when we try to hide the broken parts, He sees them. None of the ugly stuff is hidden from Him, and yet He loves us.

This world is broken, and so are we. The only difference?
We know the Savior who chose brokenness in the midst of His perfection so that He could draw each of us to Him. We know that when we mess up, we can go to Him. And no matter what we've done, our repentance brings His forgiveness.

So when you look at all the broken pieces of your life, remember this:
"But this beautiful treasure is contained in us—cracked pots made of earth and clay—so that the transcendent character of this power will be clearly seen as coming from God and not from us. We are cracked and chipped from our afflictions on all sides, but we are not crushed by them. We are bewildered at times, but we do not give in to despair. We are persecuted, but we have not been abandoned. We have been knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our bodies the reality of the brutal death and suffering of Jesus. As a result, His resurrection life rises and reveals its wondrous power in our bodies as well." (2 Corinthians 4:7-10)
 
And use your brokenness to show other people
that God takes all the broken pieces
and puts them back together for His glory.
 

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