– All Sons & Daughters, “Brokenness Aside“
I once had a close friend who shared with me the many inappropriate advances of what I’m going to call The Women of the Internet. If his point was to open my eyes to the sad condition of the human heart, he succeeded. That alone would have been incredibly impactful, but the additional tidbit he shared admittedly took my breath away.
“And Amy, do you know how many of these women include the phrase ‘Jesus follower’ in their online bios? Many of them. MANY.”
And with that, all of Christianity, myself included, was damned by our hypocrisy in the eyes of this non-believer.
I am broken. In many ways I am physically broken, traveling through this earthly life in a mortal vessel, dying from the very moment I was born. But I am also emotionally broken, psychologically broken, spirit broken. I’ve come to understand that we all are in our own ways. Yes, there are elder brothers around me, those special snowflakes who seem to have magically made it through life unscathed, but the majority of us are prodigals, this life simply one long journey home to the arms of our waiting, welcoming Father.
At the moment I am finding myself needing to examine this brokenness for a variety of reasons. I spent quite a bit of time this week on the Internet, the gateway to the lost souls of millions and a seemingly endless source of useful information, looking through church documents from around the country. I needed to answer the question, “What are the guidelines for participants in a church ministry?” I found some powerful suggestions from having a servant’s heart to spending time in daily prayer. But I also found explicit rules regarding the personal experiences of the individual. Do not share your personal struggles with team members. Check those at the door in order to not bring down the mood. If experiencing struggles within your family or your personal life, please remove yourself from the team. Excessive weight is not appropriate. Your body is a vessel and that is the model you must present to the congregation.
I get it. Those women messaging my friend had intentionally made themselves the public face of the Church, and then privately, unintentionally used their brokenness to chip away at the Kingdom.
As Christians we’re asked to strive for excellence, to prayerfully work towards a Godly life. As a pastor recently shared, we’re not asked to love the sinner and hate the sin. We’re asked to love the sinner and examine the sin in our own lives. Amen.
But to deny our own brokenness and present to the world a false perfection, I believe, is to do even more damage to the Kingdom. Jesus loved the broken among us. The leper, the prostitute, the orphan, the outcast, the least of these. (Matthew 25:40) We need to follow His example and offer the same grace and love, starting with ourselves.
As I work to build the Kingdom, I embrace and acknowledge my own brokenness because it is only through doing so that I can share the Truth with the world, that the world needs Grace, that God provided that Grace through His Son, and that this brokenness ends not through our own will, work, or wishing it away, but in Redemption.
Redemption is the story we need to experience. And it’s the story we need to share.