Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Everything's Broken

The upside of being a little sick is that you get to sit around and relax. The downside is that you still don't feel well enough to enjoy the relaxing. So be it. (I think I must have ate something that didn't agree with me.)

So anyway, I was up last night talking to a friend who seems to have more than his fair share of stress being dumped on him. Among other things, he is beginning to come to terms with certain behaviors that are deeply engrained in him, but are not exactly "God Honoring."

Coming face to face with our imperfections is generally very painful, yet they are very necessary. If you don't address them honestly with God, then you aren't letting God do the work that he wants to do in your life. For myself, my biggest issues seem to be my own willfulness & selfishness. Just like Genesis 3, I still want to be my own god.

Personally, when I talk about the sinful nature of humanity I try to avoid the use of the terms "Good & Bad." When I do something stupid & sinful, I already feel bad. I don't need it pounded into me about what a bad person I am. That might work for some, but all it does in reinforce the worst in me.

More importantly, when I think it terms of "Good & Bad," the whole concept of "Works" comes creeping in. I mean, people can be really bad or really good. They can be pretty good, and then turn around and be really, really bad. In Shane Claiborne's book, "The Irresistible Revolution," he tells the story of a bunch of Philadelphia's local mafia boys dropping off bicycles for poor children at a church. It was a "Good" thing to do, but it hardly changes the fact that those guys were/are criminals.

The biggest reason I don't like the terms "Good & Bad" is because it really and truly gives people the wrong impression of our state of existence, and our relationship to God. It's never about being good enough for God because you can't be good enough for God. You can't earn your salvation.

It's about being HOLY! That's the only way that you can stand in the presence of God and survive. You are either holy or you are not...like being pregnant. And the sad fact of the matter is that we are not holy because we sin. We are not "Good & Bad." We are BROKEN!

Years ago, Bob Dylan wrote a song titled "Everything is Broken."

"Broken bottles, broken plates.
Broken switches, broken gates.
Broken dishes, broken parts.
Streets are filled with broken hearts.
Broken words never meant to be spoken.
Every thing is broken.

Seem like every time you stop and turn around,
something else just hit the ground
Broken cutters, broken saws.
Broken buckles, broken laws.
Broken bodies, broken bones.
Broken voices on broken phones.
Take a deep breath, feel like you're chokin.'
Everything is broken."

Kinda sums up our state of being, I think.

I am a broken bottle...a broken bucket. I can't carry water, or much else for that matter. Neither can I glue myself back together. No amount of being good enough is going to change that. I need to remind myself of this circumstance every single day if I wish to embrace reality. I need to remind myself that I need a massive salvation from a massive savior, because there is no way that I can remedy this situation on my own. I'm not good or bad. I was born to sin. I am broken.

On the bright side of things, God appears to be fully aware of this situation. It wold also appear that he is simply waiting for an acknowledgment on my/our part that we need him to repair us.

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." (Ps. 34:18)

"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, oh God, you will not despise." (Ps. 51:17)

"The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love." (Ps. 147:11)

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 5:3)

Again, I think that it's all just an acknowledgment of reality. Humans can't fix themselves. We never could, and we never will. God isn't dumb on this point, be we certainly seem to be. To repent is simply to come face to face with the fact that we are not what we should be, and to return to where we were supposed to be all a long. Jesus did everything necessary to have the relationship with the Father that we need. I need to remind myself of that every day.

I am broken. But he still thinks that I'm beautiful.



P.S. I've you would like to see a video of Dylan performing his song "Everything is Broken," just click on this link. It's from some boot-leg concert in Japan I think.

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