Three Front and Center Realities for Christians: #2 — Brokenness

17 Oct

I set out in late September to write a three part series of blog posts on three “front and center” realities for Christians.  These realities are the key ideas about our world we must keep in mind if we are to live faithfully and not have a warped approach to life.  I began the series with the first reality: the reality of beauty.  We must remember that it is a beautiful world, created by God, filled with wonder.  If we forget this, we are likely to be dour, joyless people.

The second reality is the counterpoint to the first:  the world is broken.  Christians must always keep this in mind as we live each day.  Interestingly, much of the delay between my first article and this article can be explained by the brokenness of the world.  Each day after I wrote that first article seemed to bring a new challenge that was intimately connected to the brokenness of the world.  First, someone in the church died and I had to do the funeral.  Then, another church member died and I had to do that funeral.  And then, one after another three of our members were hospitalized and that required my attention.  All of these challenges and most of the others I faced were directly connected to the brokenness of the world.  One of the things we learn as we grow up is that nothing works quite as we think it should.  Time after time our hopes are dashed as our bodies break down or our loved ones die or we face financial ruin or we see a relationship dissolve.  The reality of brokenness is with us always in our deceitful hearts, which are prone to sin, which are apt to wander from truth and life into evil.

In the Christian world, I see the brokenness of the world ignored by many TV preachers and many other church movements, which deal with the issue of brokenness far too lightly.  The brokenness of the world is something we can not overcome by a few mind games where we just think positive thoughts.  We will live with the reality of brokenness until all things are made new.

The reality of brokenness should cause us to deal with people with great grace.  The fact that it is not the only reality in our world means we don’t just show grace, but we also bring truth to one another.  Grace and truth are not at odds, they are complementary and flow from one another and exist as they do because of the world as it is, beautiful and broken.

That gossipy old lady in your church is broken, in need of grace and truth.  That rebellious teen is broken and probably doesn’t even realize it.  The friends you love so much are broken people.  Your spouse is a broken person, he or she will often let you down.  Your children are broken people, expect them to act like it.  Your church is broken, no matter how outwardly healthy it may seem.

Remember as you enter this week that everywhere you turn, from the creation to the people you deal with each day, that you are dealing with the marks of brokenness.  And the place where you see this most clearly is the mirror.

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