Thursday, June 19, 2008

Broken People



Sunday morning, we had a great sermon on the concept of Brokenness. I believe the pastor was using the word in the context of realizing that we humans are broken by sin and that Christ is our healer. His text was the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, one of whom was quite self-sufficient, and the other who realized his great need for a Savior.

In the bulletin was a handout and "Proud people" and "Broken people." There were two contrasting sentences in each paragraph. Here is an example:

Proud people have to prove that they are right.
Broken people are willing to yield the right to be right.

The first few that caught my eye didn't give me any problem, but as I read more closely, I found several that I just couldn't accept.

As I have come to believe deeply that low self-esteem is actually a result of pride (hubris), I can see that I have been quite prideful in my life. I know that I am more broken now, but only in the sense that I realize that I am not the Savior of my life. I am not broken if you think of brokenness as there being something inherently flawed in me.

There were 30 pairs of sentences, and I have re-written 7 of them. Read on and let me know what you think:

original: Proud people focus on the failures of others.
original: Broken people are overwhelmed with a sense of their own spiritual need.
rewrite: Broken people never lose sight of their spiritual need and they realize that only Jesus Christ can fill that need.

original: Proud people are self-righteous; they look down on others.
original: Broken people esteem all others better than themselves.
rewrite: Broken people recognize that every human on earth is a precious child of God and they treat others with the deepest respect and love, as they would like to be treated.

original: Proud people compare themselves with others and feel worthy of honor.
original: Broken people compare themselves to the holiness of God and feel a desperate need for His mercy.
rewrite: Broken people see themselves in light of the holiness of God and see themselves as humble recipients of his righteousness and mercy.

original: Proud people have a drive to be recognized and appreciated.
original: Broken people have a sense of their own unworthiness; they are thrilled that God would use them at all.
rewrite: Broken people are filled with a deep gratitude for the gifts that God has given them and they share those gifts with others -- they have freely received and the freely give.

I have spent days, weeks, months, years, and decades thinking about myself. But finding healing doesn't mean I'm never going to think of myself ever again. And I am concerned that churches inadvertently encourage Christians to focus on themselves in the name of not thinking of themselves. You can't just stop thinking about yourself. Indeed, while there are no doubt people who, for a time, forget about their own needs almost altogether, forgetting to eat, etc., by taking care of ourselves (in good, healthy ways, not selfish ways) we are more available to other people. As friends. As wife or husband. As mother, father, sister, daughter.

Have you met people as I have who refuse to accept a compliment? What about people who have a really hard time receiving something without quickly finding something they can give back? Or people who confuse being humble with feeling bad about themselves?

What would be different if all Christians in every church had at the forefront of their hearts and minds this thought -- "I am a cherished child of the King. He has blessed me with gifts and talents and my own special me-ness. Let me share these gifts with others!"

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Siouxsie - so well said. I love how you bring to light that brokenness is a good thing and not a bad thing. When you are around prideful people, doesn't it make you glad to be you???? Not saying that I have no pride - because surely we all do in some area. But at the end of the day, I would rather be me down here in the pit of imperfection and God's grace than be my neighbors trying to help everyone see that they are so far above the rest of us that we will never catch up!

Stephanie M said...

Amen sister! Love is in the HOUSE! :)

Thanks too for your nice words about my reunion pics. Mike said he was careful when he took them to get me at a good angle. What a guy. I didn't lose nearly what I wanted, but in the end it didn't matter because everyone else was in the same situation.

SiouxsieQ said...

Without really intending to, I have been your neighbor in the past! Maybe that is why it is so much easier to see how wonderful God's grace it -- I have been in desperate need of it all along!

SiouxsieQ said...

Steph --

Mike IS a good guy. From Mindi's comment, I have to ask -- did you organize the whole reunion?

Greg said...

Seeing the wisdom in your rewrites, I wonder if it's better to have been broken and healed than to never have been broken at all.

Seriously.