With a title like that, you may think I have finally lost my mind (or at least admitted it). But I hope you will give me a chance to expound. After all, aren’t blog titles just clever hooks to get you to read the first paragraph? Step 1, check.
Brokenness isn’t something one seeks after. And it certainly isn’t something our society values. It means something isn’t working right; fragmented and fractured. To be broken is to not be in working order. This is why we generally don’t get excited about brokenness: broken doesn’t work.
When the idea of brokenness is focused on our humanity, it makes us squirm and resist even more. But even admitting personal brokenness is a challenge for some. Our society would prefer to start with the premise that we are inherently good deep down. Way deep down. So deep down is this “goodness” that if you went looking for it you might wonder why so many adopt this idea of inherent goodness. Especially when such a dig reveals so much brokenness. In the search for good, we discover we are broken, we don’t work right.
The Psalmist explained our brokenness and lack of goodness like this:
The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
there is no one who does good.
The LORD looks down from heaven
on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand,
any who seek God.
All have turned away, all have become corrupt;
there is no one who does good,
not even one. (Psalm 14:1-3)
“No one who does good.” This phrase is repeated multiple times and in various ways throughout the bible. It’s a hard truth to embrace, right? No one? Really? Apparently so. God even searches for just one human being who does good and the results come back wanting. You and I are broken. Not good.
There is good news, however, regarding our brokenness: it doesn’t have to be permanent. God is not uncaring toward our problem. He knows we are weak, sinful, and broken. He, on the other hand, is strong, pure, and holy. By His mercy He made a way for us to be clothed with His goodness so that we work properly.
But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:21-24)
Faith is all it takes to be made right with God, and to have His goodness given to us. This is Good News! But what if you’ve trusted Christ and still struggle with a besetting sin?
Let’s view brokenness from two angles. First, as it’s been shown above, it is how we are flawed, sinful, fractured. It’s a core condition because of our inherent sinfulness. The bible calls this our flesh, or sinful nature. This brokenness is what separates us from God and causes us to want to do anything but good. Second, though, we could see our brokenness as a tool by which God will grow us in grace. Let me explain.
Even if you have trusted Christ, you still live in your flesh. Your sinful nature (desire to do evil) is still present. But your spirit is alive in Christ and you are seen by God as righteous by the blood of Jesus. This creates a conflict, though, in your daily life. A part of you (spirit) wants to do good, but another part of you (flesh) wants to keep living out of brokenness. I suppose God could have set things up so that whenever a person trusts Christ their flesh was abolished and they would have no more desire to sin. But He didn’t do that (freedom from the presence of sin comes in heaven). He allowed this struggle to remain. Why?
I won’t presume to have the complete answer to that question, but I do wonder if one reason He allows us to continue battling our brokenness is so that our faith grows and His power is magnified. The apostle Paul highlights this struggle and its solution in Romans 7-8. The final conclusion is that Jesus delivers us from the power of our flesh so we can live a life pleasing to God. God doesn’t apologize for our brokenness. Instead, He gives us the gift of His Spirit to heal our fractures, remind us of our value before Him, and empower us to work right.
I’m not afraid of being broken. I know God loves me, has given me His very own goodness, and allows my brokenness to remind me of my need for His power every moment of every day. That’s the good news of being broken, and I thought you might want to hear it.