Defined by Brokenness (Part 1)

I know it sounds ludicrous, but there are people who enjoy or at least feel comfortable in their brokenness. They allow their pain to define them! Frankly, we dare not give our past the power to define our future. In other words, we dare not live to be miserable! Misery may breed company, but that’s one group of friends you may want to avoid!

Often, when individuals are challenged to change, they fight and sometimes flee. In a very warped way, to be healed is asking too much. They may say with their mouth, “I’m tired of living like this,” but their actions prove otherwise.

Let me say it this way: Salvation is free, but the cost of daily discipleship exerts a price – that of surrender. Are we willing to make the necessary sacrifices to rid our life of broken areas? Only when we resolve to make the necessary changes and cry out for divine intervention, do we experience life change. Dr. Dobbins said, “Nobody changes until the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” And that’s true! I believe one of the most difficult struggles we all encounter is the pain of change. We tend to resist change because it requires that we move out of our comfort zones.

Pastors everywhere deal with individuals who are the same today as they were ten years ago. Nothing’s changed! They were miserable then, and they continue to be miserable now, as they let their brokenness get the best of them. Their problems are simply older and perhaps more complex. Life tends to become more and more convoluted if we refuse to deal with our broken areas. Sir Walter Scott perhaps said it best: “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” Presumably, the worst kind of deception is self-deception. How many of us refuse to admit to the guy in the mirror that we have unhealed broken areas, and then take the necessary steps to find healing? Nothing changes until we first get honest with ourselves.

You’d think that all the sermons, counseling sessions, words of encouragement, and hours spent together would make a difference – but sadly, in many lives, they don’t. Why? Because their comfort zone has become their permanent residence. They have settled for mediocre living, and worse yet, they believe that how they live is “normal.” In short, they have embraced low living! No one moves forward in God who refuses to let go of his past! The writer of Hebrews reminds us that even the Word of God is rendered null and void unless we mix it with faith. “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it” (4:2). Yes, many read their Bibles, but how many of us allow the Bible to “read” us? Knowledge without application leads to self-righteous cover ups!

They say, “This is who I am, and this is the way things are.” Really, what they’re saying is, “This is who I’ve chosen to be, and this is the way things are going to stay.” While everyone matters to God, there comes a time when we allow individuals to “jump up and down in their own puddle,” while holding them at a safe distance. What we value, we embrace. And when those around us refuse to move past their pain and brokenness, we really have no choice but to separate ourselves from them, or at least avoid giving them quality time.

This sounds heartless, but if we are to become all God intended us to be – whole individuals – then we must circumvent those who insist on holding us back. Their drama cannot be allowed to constitute our emergency. We cannot help those who do not wish to be helped. We can’t take away their brokenness because it has to start from them. It’s that simple and that sad! This truth is especially heart-rending when the broken ones are immediate family members or other loved ones.

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