Oftentimes I randomly wonder if some of the growing pains I suffer in this walk with the Lord are the leftover consequences of my brokenness. How much of my current pain is the residual consequences of a life once lost in sin? God forgives. God restores. God redeems. But consequences are consequences. The God who redeemed me was the One who made the laws I violated in the first place. He set boundaries up for my protection and I ignored them or blatantly crossed them in defiance.
God is just.
God is merciful.
In His justice, He must punish sin. Thankfully, the punishment for my sin was put upon Christ on that cross. But the physical and emotional consequences of what my flesh has participated in, lingers.
In the wake of my repentance and new life in Christ, there are still bodies littered on the battlefield of my past. People to whom I may have done irreparable harm if God does not intervene in their matter. This is not an egotistical survey of my own importance but a sobering realization that many of the people who participated in what culminated in my brokenness would have affected me for the entirety of my life if not for the redemption of God. So when I see others, whom I may have had a hand in breaking, living life without Christ in the wake of their own hurts and heartbreak, my strength fails me.
Those who saw me as a literal example witnessed the type of life I lived, the kind of men I entertained and the manner in which I spent my time and they did the same. Maybe not consciously and perhaps never with my words but they knew I approved of their choices because their choices were similar to mine. How do I help the woman who is still dating the types of men that chipped away at my self-worth and took ownership of my identity all while refusing to pay the price of commitment? How do I counsel the young person who is still frequenting the very same clubs that were my stomping grounds in an endless search for a good time that does not last beyond the effects of the alcohol and the bass of the music? How do I get them to see that the emptiness of every morning after a night of debauchery is the void that begs to be filled with Christ?
I speak. I shout. I beg and I plead but my words fall on deafened ears when the heart attached is dead in sin and has no grasp of spiritual matters. I am not asking for behavior modification. I am praying for a regenerated heart. Because without it, the lost remain lost. The broken remain in pieces and wholeness to them is a pie in the sky dream that is about as possible as walking on water.
(I know Someone who did that!)
Somewhere out there, someone has tethered themselves and sworn their allegiance to the past that Christ delivered me from. They have picked up the rags I once wore because the enemy of their soul painted them a new color and called it the latest trend, haute couture for their soul’s happiness. Lies.
Somewhere out there, a woman is pouring out her heart, body and emotions for the benefit of a man who speaks love with his lips but whose heart is deadened. He cannot love her because he does not know love. Yet, she persists sincerely believing that her love would be enough to change him from a child of Hell to an angel on earth. Unfortunately for them, neither her love nor his can save them. They must know LOVE Himself or the cycle of dysfunction continues. I know her well. I saw her in my mirror from the time I was 16 until mercy delivered me.
Brokenness may be temporarily hidden as we pretend perfection but all of our pieces come tumbling out when we attempt to function as we have been designed, in relationship with one another. Wholeness in Christ is a gift – I treasure it daily. But I would be delusional to think that because I am well in one area, there are no other parts of my soul that need the healing hand of God. Even as I sit here writing, my heart still prays to see restoration in the friendships that have died. Not because I am bitter, not because I cannot live without a lost friend but because reconciliation is the heart of my Heavenly Father. I was God’s enemy when He reconciled me to Himself. If He can do that, surely He can mend whatever is broken between me and those that I prefer to love from a distance because bringing them any closer invites Judas’ kiss and results in a crushing that I do not ever want to experience again.
Brokenness is familiar to me. Mine was initially the result of rebellion against the God I already knew (0f). Lately, it has been the mercy, compassion and chastisement of the Lord as He breaks my deeply embedded need to have my own way. When things break physically, we throw them away. When things break spiritually, God sends His healing and wholeness. Without being broken, I may not have recognized my astronomical need for God and ALL that He has made available for me through Christ. Being broken afforded me the privilege of being re-made by God (since I had made SUCH a mess of my life the first go-round). So in my journey, as I discover YET another piece of myself that is defective, flawed, lacking or broken, I have this hope that the God who made beauty out of such a broken life as mine can transform even this unfinished and imperfect part of me into something glorious.
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us
– Gungor “Beautiful Thing”