We are now in the middle of week 2 of our 7:14 prayer initiative; this week our prayer focus is on brokenness. Yikes! The concept of brokenness is something that many of us try to stay as far away from as possible. We have an uneasy relationship with truth, and therefore would rather pretty up the surface of our lives up so that we can at least appear that we are doing OK to others. We spend a lot of energy trying to project a false image of ourselves. We love to wear masks, ones that make us look better than we think we are, masks that make it look like we have it all together. Often the biggest liars are found in the lobbies of churches. We pass by one another wearing a fake smile, desperately trying to project an image of competence. You have seen the scene:
How are you doing?!
Couldn’t be better!
Wonderful, see you later!
All the while we’re dying inside, too scared to let anyone know it. On the one hand you are relieved that your mask is still intact but on the other hand, your soul is dying because it is desperate to actually be known.
We project these false selves both out of our pride and our shame. Pride because we would hate someone to think poorly about our lives; shame, because we are the ones who know the depths of our depravity. One of the books you read in The Journey is titled The Cure; it speaks to the lies that keep us from freedom. One quote that stands out from The Cure:
No one matures in bitterness. No one gets free in isolation. No one heals rehashing the testimonies of bad religion. No one gets to love or be loved well in self-protection. Self-protection is one of the great oxymorons. We’re the only person in the world we don’t have the potential to protect. And once we hide from trusting God and others, we become more enflamed, more self-justified, more calloused in repeating our blame.
We fear that if we are truly known, we could never be truly loved. So it seems that the only options we have are to either hide or build up so many walls in our heart that we will never truly be known. In reality there is another option that stands right before us, and it is one of the mysteries of the Kingdom. We find that when we humble ourselves and ask God to break us, we are released from the pride and shame that keeps us hidden.
I have family friends in Texas who live in the fancy part of town. Driving past their house you honestly wouldn’t think twice about them: Huge house, manicured lawn, fancy cars in the driveway. They seem to have it all together. But inside their home, the scene is far different. Stepping through their doorway, you see very clearly that they are hoarders. Piles and piles of unnecessary items line the hallways, and the rooms are filled with stacks upon more stacks of junk. It’s like a Hobby Lobby threw up all over itself. My first reaction was disgust and contempt, but that quickly shifted to compassion when I saw the restlessness to their souls that keeps them from feeling satisfied and always looking for more.
Many of us are not much different from this house. We are great at making ourselves look good on the outside, but on the inside, the junk is piling up and threatening to spill out. We need to be split open and allow the darkness of our souls be exposed to God’s glorious light. That’s not easy and it is often filled with fear. But we learn that when we are broken by God, he is the one to take the broken pieces of our lives and put them back together the way they were meant to be. It is in our brokenness that we can actually find restoration.
Our brokenness should not be a source of shame. It is out of our brokenness that we are actually made whole. When Jesus talked about the broken, he called them blessed.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Simply put, those who are broken by God are blessed. Not because he is out to hurt you for your sinfulness, rather because he wants to restore you from the ways your heart has been malformed. Its out of our brokenness that we can experience the truth of 1 Corinthians 13: 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. When we are thoroughly broken, God’s healing helps us to respond to the other brokenness of the world not with contempt, but compassion. It is in our brokenness that we are able to see him clearly and therefore reflect his image into our lives. Our lives are transformed and renewed, we therefore embrace the world with Christ’s compassion instead of wearing that old worn out mask. Henri Nouwen expresses how our newfound compassion brings healing to others when he says:
“Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.”
Brokenness breeds compassion, and Lord knows this world could use some more of that. So as you seek the face of God this week through 7:14 Prayer, ask him to break you, break you of your pride, shame, lust, greed, anger, contempt, ________ you name it! It’s not easy, it’s often scary, but it is the very thing our hearts need the most.
Broken beside you,
God has called his people to pray! Our families, communities, and world are in need of healing and God makes a conditional promise in 2 Chronicles 7:14 that we want to live out. God is calling us as his people to humble ourselves, pray, seek his face and turn from our wicked ways. Please join us by:
- Praying daily at 7:14 a.m. & 7:14 p.m.
- Fasting one time per week